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Re: [WarOf1812] Cruikshank Documents

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  • mmathews@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU
    ... Can you expand for me the specifics of what each power was to cease and desist? Sounds interesting, but is new to me. If I understand the above, we were
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 3, 2000
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      >--- mmathews@... wrote:
      >> (snip)
      >> I'm curious about this part, being a bit of a
      >> Napoleonic addict. Can you
      >> give me some examples of this foreign policy
      >> manipulation please?
      >About six months before war was declared, the US
      >issued a "Cease and desist" ultimatum to both france
      >and England. The implication was that the US would not
      >declare war on whoever responded favorably.
      >Napoleon immediately responded in the affirmative,
      >despite the fact that if his decree was actually
      >enforced, it would seriously undermine the Continental
      >System. For instance, if the decree was enforced,
      >American holds could legitimately carry English goods
      >to, say, Prussia, Denmark, or Italy.

      Can you expand for me the specifics of what each power was to cease and
      desist? Sounds interesting, but is new to me. If I understand the above,
      we were asking them to allow us to carry English goods in American hulls to
      the continent? Why not American goods and avoid the middleman? Greater
      profit. Would American ships be allowed by the French (as if they could
      stop it) to come to English harbors? If so it would be very profitable as
      you could carry American goods to England, load up with English goods for
      the Continent, then carry Continental goods to either England or America.

      >The English were caught flat-footed by the decree -
      >and didn't believe it for a minute. Unfortuately, they
      >also didn't believe that the Americans were so naive
      >as to believe the French.

      I doubt they were. It's easy to see that agreeing on principle with
      something while knowing that your enemy would never allow it lets you
      (France) look like the good guy with no risk. Is this what you meant about
      manipulating US foreign policy?

      >A major reason for declaring war on France was the
      >fact that French privateers and light warships were
      >seizing American ships in ever-greater numbers (you
      >don't need a battle fleet to wreck a maritime nation's
      >economy - look at what the US did to England)

      The battle fleet reference was just one of ensuring through strength that
      your wishes and messages were delivered/enforced. Re the privateers, do
      you have any numbers? I would have thought that the only time our
      merchantile service suffered at the hands of the French was during the time
      of the "XYZ Affair" in 1799 and the resulting hostilities at sea. I am
      skeptical about how many French privateers were able to be active after
      about 1809. Certainly the letters of marque that were frequently issued to
      armed merchantmen would have been near to impossible for the French.

      The four
      >votes in the Senate were from silly people who
      >believed that the privateers simply had not yet gotten
      >the word yet about the decree.

      I'm confused and have deleted the original message unfortunately. So four
      senators voted *for* war with France, or the vote *failed* by four votes?

      >The state of American perceptions of real politik in
      >those days was, well, laughable. What made it so
      >tragic was that they were so sincere about their
      >rose-colored specs. . . .

      It's a "cain't win fer losin'" situation. The media was so one dimensional
      and perhaps even more dominating than today that people really did believe
      everything they read. Of course, as has been pointed out at other times,
      the most hawkish group (the South) had the least to lose in theory and the
      heavy merchantile states (New England) were largely opposed to war.


      Michael Mathews -- Winona State University
      Voice: (507) 285-7585 Cel: (507) 450-3535 Fax: (507) 280-5568
      "I've decided to be happy, because it's good for one's health." - Voltaire
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