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President James Madison’s war message, June 1, 1812

As Congress debated whether to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison addressed a message to the Senate and House of Representatives detailing British offenses against the United States. He concluded that Great Britain was already in a state of war against the United States, but left Congress to determine the nation’s response.

the conduct of her Government presents a series of acts, hostile to the United States as an independent and neutral nation.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

President James Madison’s war message, June 1, 1812 President James Madison’s war message, June 1, 1812 the conduct of her Government presents a series of acts, hostile to the United States as an independent and neutral nation.

War of 1812: Congress Declares War

The 1783 treaty that ended the American Revolution did not resolve all conflicts between the United States and Great Britain. Tensions escalated over Great Britain’s impressment of American sailors, interference with trade, occupation of U.S. territory, and relations with American Indians. In June 1812 Speaker of the House Henry Clay persuaded Congress to use its constitutional power to declare war for the first time. President James Madison signed the declaration into law, and the United States and Great Britain were at war for the second time.