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Senate Changes to the House Declaration of War, June 17, 1812

On June 4, 1812, the House of Representatives voted 79–49 for a declaration of war against Great Britain. After making minor changes to the declaration, the Senate approved it by a vote of 19–13 on June 17. The bill gave the president “the whole land and naval force of the United States” to execute the war.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Senate Changes to the House Declaration of War, June 17, 1812

War of 1812: Congress Declares War

The 1783 treaty that ended the American Revolution did not resolve conflict 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. When President James Madison signed the declaration into law, the United States and Great Britain were again at war.