Republican congressmen from the west were certain

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Republican congressmen from the West were certain that Britain was the primary offender. They pointed to its trade with Indians in the Ohio River Valley in violation of the Treaty of Paris and Jay’s Treaty. Bolstered by British guns and supplies, the Shawnee war chief Tecumseh [ta-KUM-sa]revived the Western Confederacy in 1809. His brother, the prophet Tenskwatawa [tens-QUA-ta-wa], provided the confederacy with a powerful nativist ideology. He urged Indian peoples to shun Americans, “the children of the Evil Spirit… who have taken away your lands”; renounce alcohol; and return to traditional ways. The Shawnee leaders found their greatest support among Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Winnebago, Ottawa, and Chippewa warriors,westerners who lacked knowledge of the strength and numbers of the advancing Americans. They flocked to Tenskwatawa’s holy village,Prophetstown, near the juncture of the Tippecanoeand Wabash rivers in the Indiana Territory.As Tecumseh mobilized the western Indian peoples for war, William Henry Harrison, the governor of the Indiana Territory, decided on a preemptive strike. In November 1811, when Tecumseh went south to seek support from the Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Creeks, Harrison took advantage of his absence and attacked Prophetstown. The governor’s 1,000 troops and militiamen traded heavy casualties with the confederacy’s warriors at the Battle of Tippecanoe and then destroyed the holy village.
With Britain assisting Indians in the western territories and seizing American ships in theAtlantic, Henry Clay of Kentucky, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, and John C. Calhoun, a rising young congressman from South Carolina, pushed Madison toward war. Like other Republican “war hawks” from the West and South, they wanted to seize territory in British Canada and Spanish Florida. With national elections approaching, Madison issued an ultimatum to Britain. When Britain failed to respond quickly, the president asked Congress for a declaration of war. In June 1812, a sharply divided Senate voted 19 to 13 for war, and the House of Representatives concurred, 79 to 49.The causes of the War of 1812 have been much debated. Officially, the United States went to war because Britain had violated its commercial rights as a neutral nation. But the Federalists in Congress who represented the New England and Middle Atlantic merchants voted against the war; and in the election of 1812, those regions cast their 89 electoral votes for the Federalist presidential candidate, De Witt Clinton of New York. Madison amassed most of his 128 electoral votes in the South and West, where voters and congressmen strongly supported the war. Many historians therefore argue that the conflict was actually “a western war with eastern labels” (seeAmerican Voices).Conflict in the Atlantic and the WestPrinted Page 216[Notes/Highlighting]The War of 1812The War of 1812 was a near disaster for the United States, both militarily and politically. An invasion of British Canada in 1812 quickly ended in a retreat to

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