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Pro-War Senators


In the years leading up to the War of 1812, senators advocating war with Great Britain passed legislation ordering the arming of vessels in active naval service and expanding the size of the army. Britain’s policies of seizing American seamen, violating the nation’s neutral rights and territorial waters, blockading U.S. ports, and restricting U.S. trade prompted many senators to speak out in favor of war preparation. While the United States had enjoyed a long period of prosperity, Senator William B. Giles warned his colleagues in the Senate, “we ought not to calculate upon perpetual exemption from the common calamities of nations. When days of adversity shall arrive, we should meet them with becoming fortitude and energy.” Although favorable to war, the ranks of the majority Republican Party were nevertheless divided, with some favoring total war with Britain while others advocated a limited war with both Britain and France.