*** American history Napoleonic Wars

American History: The Napoleonic Wars

America and Napoleonic Wars
Figure 1.--Here we have two unidentified women and a young boy at a historical marker for Smuggler's Notch near Big Spring, Vermont near the Canadian border. It is a mountain pass in Lamoille County, Vermont. The Notch separates Mount Mansfield, the highest peak of the Green Mountains, from Spruce Peak and the Sterling Range. The name coms from the smuggling route that developed after President Thomas Jefferson acted to prevent American involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. The Embargo Act of 1807 prohibited American trade with Britain and Canada, a British colony. The location near Montreal made it a part of smuggling route. The Embargo Act adversely affected New Ebgland, including Vermont. Many Vermonters continued the illegal trade with Canada, moving goods and livestock through the Notch. Lter Fugitive slaves also used the Notch as an escape route to Canada. The route was improved to so ghat cars abnd trucks could use it (1922). Gangsters used it to bring alcoholic bevrages in from Canada during the Prohibition era.

Earth shattering events unfolded in Europe during the early decadeds of the fledging American Republic. While Americans quitly began building a new nation and social system with Jefersonian Democracy, Europeanns were also changing the structure of society, but with unheard of violence and war. Only a few years after the American Revolution (1776-83), the French Revolution (1789) ovrturned the Ancien Régime, spawning a decade of wars in Europe. The French expected their Revolutionary ally to side with them causing problems when Presidents Washington and Adams deftly steered America away from participating in those wars. Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France overthrowing the Revolutionary Government (1799), ending a decade of revolutionary turbulence. But he then conducted another decade and a half of wars in Europe achieving one stunning victory after another--the Napoleonic Wars. President Jefferson also steered America away from participating in the wars. There were several coalitions formed against Napoleon, involving most of Europe. He defeated them in short order becoming one of the great military commanders in history. From the American perspective what mattered were he maritime powers, especially Britain and France. President Jefferson continued his predecessors efforts to stay out of the wars in Europe. Jefferson wound down the Quasi War with France (1802) and negotiated the Louisiana Purchase (1803). After a brief era of peace, Britain and and France resumed the War (1803). An important part of the Napoleonic Wars as Britain's blockade of France and French controlled countries. Napoleon countered with his Continental System. In their years of conflict, both Britain and France trampled on the rights of small neutrals like the United States. Americas was a small rural country, but it had a substantial merchant marine which was important to the economy, especially New England. This led to conflict at sea with Britain and France seizing vessels and impressing sailors. Here the problem was primarily with Britain, after Trafalgar the dominant naval power (1805). Relations deteriorated with both Britain and France. There were criers for war, especially with Britain. HMS Leopard boarded an American ship at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. It resulted in a fire storm of anti-British feeling (1807). President Jefferson responded in an attempt to avoid war, issued an embargo on all foreign trade to avoid further incidents. This had little impact on the British economy, but had a serious impact on the American economy. The embargo was especially unpopular in New England where trade with Britain was an important part of the regional economy. The embargo was also difficult to enforce. At the very end of his presidency, Jefferson ended the embargo and replaced it with the Non-Intercourse Act, which permitted trade to resume, except with Britain and France (1809). America did not have the ability to enforce this any better than the earlier embargo. President Madison also attempted to avoid war, but faced a Congress dominated by the War Hawks who were set on war with Britain and had Canada in their sights. Britain refused to make any concessions to appease the Americans.



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Created: 7:58 PM 1/4/2024
Last updated: 7:58 PM 1/4/2024