4.4 America on the World Stage

7 min readdecember 22, 2022

Robby May

Robby May


Sally Kim

Milo Chang

Milo Chang

AP US History 🇺🇸

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Build-up to the War of 1812

Impressment remained a big issue for America. British ships would take American crew as their prisoners, impressing them into the service of the Royal Navy. It violated American neutrality.
Orders in Council forbade neutral ships from trading with Britain’s enemies, and France retaliated by stating that all ships trading with Britain or following Orders would be seized. As a result, American ships were also seized by the French. Both violated US sovereignty and free trade rights.
During this time, Britain and France were engaged in a series of wars, known as the Napoleonic Wars, that lasted from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. These wars were fought for a variety of reasons, including territorial and economic disputes, and involved a number of countries.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the French general and statesman who rose to power after the French Revolution, had ambitious territorial goals and sought to expand the French Empire. He sought to conquer and annex new territories, including in Europe and in other parts of the world, which led to conflicts with other powers.
To support its war effort against France, Britain needed a large and well-trained navy. To meet this need, the British navy impressed sailors from a variety of sources, including from other countries.

The attack of the Chesapeake caused such furor in the hearts of Americans that even eighty years after the incident, an artist sketched this drawing of the event. Fred S. Cozzens, The incident between HMS “Leopard” and USS “Chesapeake” that sparked the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, 1897. Wikimedia.

The Chesapeake affair occurred in 1807 when a British warship, the Leopard, attacked an American warship, the Chesapeake. With three sailors killed and four others forced into the British navy, Americans demanded war, but Jefferson responded with “peaceful coercion.” Basically, the idea was that if the two countries refused to respect the rights of the neutral US, the US would keep its ships at home. 
Jefferson’s answer was The Embargo Act, which prohibited all American overseas trade. Jefferson wanted economic pressure to force British to change, but this plan backfired. It had worked to an extent, but Britain found new sources instead. It actually led to disaster for America, backfiring on Jefferson.
The British had little difficulty substituting supplies from the US with ones from South America. The effect on the American economy was devastating, especially for shipbuilders in New England. Jefferson would call for its repeal in the final days of his presidency.
🎥 Watch: AP US History - Jeffersonian Republic

War of 1812

America successfully negotiated with Britain on impressment, but it took too long for the news to reach the US. Congress had already declared war by the time the news reached them. Major causes of the War of 1812 (which actually lasted until 1814) were:
  • Impressment and trade on the seas
  • Western frontier pressures where the British were encouraging Natives to attack Americans.
  • War Hawks in Congress, who were young Democratic-Republicans from frontier states and were eager with war with Britain. They were led by Henry Clay and John Calhoun. 
America failed to invade British Canada, and Britain blocked the American coast, which hurt the American economy. Britain was successful in invading Maryland. In Baltimore, at the famous Battle of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key penned the words of the Star Spangled Banner as the fort held out against the bombardment overnight. 
The British then marched into the capital with little opposition. In response to Americans burning the Canadian capital of York (Toronto), the British burned the White House and Capitol building.
Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans. The peace treaty had already been negotiated, but due to the speed of communication, it was not realized that the war was already over. Jackson became a national hero.
The Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, did the following:
  • Halted the fighting
  • Returned all conquered territory to the prewar areas
  • Recognized prewar borders of the US and Canada. 
So basically, nothing was won out of the war.
The war did show that America was competent enough, allowing European nations to take America more seriously. Both Jackson and Harrison became national heroes due to their leadership roles in the military. It also stimulated manufacturing in America.

Hartford Convention 

In 1814, a group of New England Federalists gathered in Hartford, Connecticut. The purpose of the convention was to address the grievances of the Federalist Party, which was the dominant political party in New England at the time, and to consider the options available to the party in the face of what it saw as the deteriorating political and economic situation in the United States.
They recommended the following changes to the Constitution:
  • Allow secession of the states (the delegates later turned this down)
  • Require a ⅔ majority of Congress to declare war
  • New procedures on admitting new states. 
However, shortly after the convention, news spread of Jackson’s victory and the end of the war, which stamped the Federalists as unpatriotic and further weakened them.

Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was a foreign policy statement issued by President James Monroe in 1823.
There were three key principles of the Monroe Doctrine:
  • America would stay out of European wars unless directly impacted
  • European nations would not make any new colonies or attempt to take back control over former colonies in the Americas
  • America would count any European colonization attempt in the Western Hemisphere to be an “unfriendly act.”
During this period, the United States was faced with a number of challenges, including the threat of European interference in its affairs and the potential for renewed conflict with Great Britain. In order to address these challenges and to assert its independence, the United States began to develop a foreign policy that was designed to protect its interests and to promote its own expansion. As part of this effort, the United States began to assert itself as a regional power and to resist European efforts to extend their control over the Western Hemisphere.
🎥 Watch: AP US History - Era of Good Feelings

Native American Removal

Native American removal was a policy that was implemented by the United States government in the 19th century. It began in the late 18th century and continued into the early 20th century, although the majority of the forced relocations took place in the 1830s and 1840s.
The policy of Native American removal was implemented by the United States government as a way to open up land for white settlement and to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society.
Native American removal was carried out through a series of federal laws and treaties, as well as through military force. It was justified by the belief that Native Americans were "savages" who were incapable of adapting to mainstream American culture and that their removal was necessary for the progress and prosperity of the nation.
The policy of Native American removal had a major impact on the lives of Native Americans, as it resulted in the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral lands to lands west of the Mississippi River. Many Native Americans died during the journey west, and the policy had a devastating impact on Native American cultures and communities, as it disrupted traditional ways of life and separated families and tribes.
The Trail of Tears was a forced relocation of Native Americans that occurred in the late 1830s as part of the United States government's policy of Native American removal. Thousands of Native Americans died as they were forced to move from their lands. The Trail of Tears was a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. The Act called for the removal of Native Americans living in the southeastern United States to lands west of the Mississippi River.
The United States government had signed treaties with Native American tribes, including the Cherokee Nation, that promised to protect their lands and rights. The Indian Removal Act violated these treaties, as they forced Native Americans to leave their ancestral lands and to give up their rights.
In a series of cases, including Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the Supreme Court upheld the rights of Native Americans and recognized their sovereignty. These cases established that Native Americans had the right to their ancestral lands and that the federal government had a duty to protect these rights.
Despite the Court's ruling, Jackson refused to take action to protect the rights of the Cherokee Nation and instead supported the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In response to the Court's decision, written by Chief Justice John Marshall, Jackson reportedly retorted, "Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!" This policy resulted in the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation and other Native American tribes.
Jackson's actions have been widely criticized as being unconstitutional and as violating the rights of Native Americans. His actions have been seen as a blatant disregard for the rule of law and as a troubling precedent for future presidents to follow.
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