In George Washington's farewell address, he warned the country to stay neutral in all foreign affairs. However, the United States could not avoid foreign affairs, as they were dragged into them. In the nineteenth century, newly elected president James Madison opened trade to France, but Napoleon broke his word, which sucked the country into European affairs. Under Thomas Jefferson, the affairs were only made worse with his policy of "peaceable coercion". After being pushed by the War Hawks, Jefferson's successor, James Madison, finally declared war on June 1, 1812, which later became known as the War of 1812. Some historians believe the War of 1812 was fought solely in defense of national honor, which is invalid; the war was fought for trade rights, revenge and land issues. .
The right to trade with whomever the United States wanted to and other economic issues was one of the main reasons the War of 1812 was fought over. Since the British and French closed trade with the United States by passing the Orders in Council and Milan Decrees (respectively), the United States countered with the Embargo Act of 1807 which prohibited trade with anyone. Since some Americans, like the New Englanders who were smuggling products with France, did not obey the law, the Embargo Act turned into a nightmare (Docs H and B). President James Madison also wanted to cut off the trade with Britain because of the nation's commercial monopoly, confirming once again that economic issues proved to be one of the reasons of the war (Doc G). If Americans were to trade with Britain, it would only make the British economy stronger and not the American economy. .
Another reason for fighting the War of 1812 was for revenge. The Americans wanted to get back at those who impressed the sailors. The Federalists pushed for war based on revenge, since they sought justification of what the French and British ships had done to the sailors (Doc F).