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Hi Michael,

I have 2 questions about American Revolution, hope you could help me a bit to response them.

1. Arrogance and ignorance may be called the twin causes of the American Revolution. Trace and discuss the ways in which the British lost their American colonies.

2. What issues led to the war between Britain and the United States in 1812? How did each issue contribute to the outbreak of war? Finally, why do some historians refer to the War of 1812 as the "second war for American Independence?" What events after the war give proof that this war for independence was successful?

Thank you so much!!!

I'm not sure I agree with the premise of your first question.  I don't think arrogance and ignorance were the primary causes of the Revolution.  Rather, it was the changing power relationship between Britain and its colonies and a conflict of interests.  But operating on the premise you give, it may be argued that the British exhibited some arrogance in thinking they could force the colonies to accept taxation without representation and ignorance as to how strongly the colonies would resist.  At the same time, it was rather arrogant of the colonies to think they could defeat Britain militarily.

The primary issue that led to the war of 1812 was over trade.  Britain passed laws prohibiting the US from trading with France, which was at war with Britain.  The US thought Britain's restrictions violated international law, but the British Navy was far superior.  British ships stopped US merchant vessels in the Atlantic, and often seized them.  The British Navy also kidnapped American sailors and forced them to serve in the British Navy.  Britain also stirred up Indians on the western frontier of the US and maintained forts on the frontier (in violation of treaties) to prevent American expansion.  

When the British ended the Revolution, they thought that the US would quickly descend into chaos and that they would ask to return to the British Empire after a few years.  They also thought the US would not be able to defend itself without a professional army and navy.  The War of 1812 proved that the US would not return to Britain and that it could continue to defend itself.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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