War Hawks

The Twelfth Congress that met from 1811 to 1813 included a number of young and outspoken members who were foes of Great Britain and supporters of expansion by the United States. Western War Hawks, most notably the new Speaker of the House, Henry Clay of Kentucky, called for war against England and eyed Canada as a possible target of expansion. The Southern War Hawks, led by John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, cast longing glances at Texas and Florida.

In truth, British violations of American neutral rights (impressment, blockades, ship seizures and others) exerted little direct impact on the South and West. The core of the War Hawk agenda was expansion.

Correspondingly, New England and New York shipping and commercial interests-the people most directly impacted by the neutral rights violations-strongly opposed the war. They disliked losing ships to the British, but realized that war would completely shut down commerce.


See neutral rights.

---- Selected Quotes ----

Quotes regarding War Hawks.

By Henry Clay
The militia of Kentucky are alone [able] to place Montreal and Upper Canada at your feet.
Speech in Congress urging war with Britain in 1812

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