RCC Honors History Project

more documents

Posted by sierralapoint on December 29, 2009

This first document is dated June 1, 1812.  It is a message sent to Congress from President Madison asking for a declaration of war against Great Britain.

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=024/llac024.db&recNum=221

Here are the congressional records siting the passage of a motion to declare war, as well as several (and I mean several!) pages of discourse about why we declared war and why it was or was not a good thing.  Interestingly enough, most of the commentary is against the war, which begs the question: “then why?”

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=024/llac024.db&recNum=228

Here are the records from the Senate, also approving the motion to declare war. (these are direct notes from the proceedings, so if you’re interested to read the arguments, like i was, just scroll back a few pages…. it goes for a while…)

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=023/llac023.db&recNum=146

Fourth, the official declaration by President James Madison, officially beginning the war of 1812.

BY THE PRESIDENT
OF THE
United States of America,
A PROCLAMATION.

WHEREAS the Congress of the United States, by virtue of the Constituted Authority vested in them, have declared by their act, hearing date the eighteenth day of the present month, that WAR exists between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the dependencies thereof, and the United States of America and their territories; Now, therefore, I, JAMES MADISON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the same to all whom it may concern: and I do specially enjoin on all persons holding offices, civil or military, under the authority of the United States, that they be vigilant and zealous, on discharging the duties respectively incident thereto: And I do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States, as they love their country; as they value the precious heritage derived from the virtue and valor of their fathers; as they feel the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations; and as they consult the best means, under the blessing of Divine Providence, of abridging its calamities; that they exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concor?, in maintaining the authority and the efficacy of the laws, and in supporting and invigorating all the measures which may be adopted by the constituted Authorities, for obtaining a speedy, a just, and an honorable peace.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed to these presents.

(SEAL.)

DONE at the City of Washington, the nineteenth day of June, one thousand eight hundred and twelve, and of the Independence of the United States the thirty-sixth.

(Signed)……….JAMES MADISON

By the President,
(Signed)……….JAMES MONROE. Secretary of State.

And finally, the Ghent treaty, which eventually ended the war.

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=008/llsl008.db&recNum=231

(See the class discussion section for commentary!)

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