The War of 1812
In 1812 Congress exercised for the first time its constitutional power to declare war. Provoked by Britain’s refusal to respect the neutrality of United States merchant vessels during Britain’s war with France, Congress declared war against Great Britain. British superiority at sea—already evident in its seizure of American ships and impressment of sailors—gave it military advantages. Awakened to the need for greater sea power, Congress acted to provide and maintain a stronger navy.