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The War of 1812
Grudge Stew - How to Stir Up a War



Grudge Stew - How to Stir Up a War
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.24

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    deserter, high-handed, Tecumseh, deserters, hostility, impressment, fledgling, frigate, broadside, uprising, ally, native-born, wounded, disdain, intrusion, brew
     content words:    Royal Navy, Many British, Captain Barron, Northwest Territory, Native American, Republican Indian Policy, Native Americans, War Hawks, Henry Clay, John C.


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Grudge Stew - How to Stir Up a War
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     As the 1800s got underway, America faced some problems. The fledgling nation had broken loose from Britain. In some ways, however, the "old" nation refused to accept the independence of the new one. For one thing, the British insisted on the right to stop American ships on the high seas. They needed to do this, they said, in order to search for deserters from the Royal Navy.
 
2     Conditions on British ships were quite miserable. Many British sailors "jumped ship" the first chance they got. These deserters often took jobs on U.S. merchant vessels. Some even enlisted in the tiny U.S. Navy. At the time, Britain was embroiled in a naval war with France. She was in desperate need of sailors to man her warships.
 
3     In searches of U.S. ships, however, British officers usually "found" more than their deserters. Both naturalized (those born in another nation who had become Americans) and native-born Americans were taken. The men were forced to work on British ships. Experts say as many as nine thousand Americans were dragged off to man British ships. This high-handed method of recruiting was called impressment. It was deeply resented by Americans.
 
4     In 1807, the British warship Leopard met the U.S. frigate Chesapeake off the coast of Virginia. The Leopard's commander demanded to search the U.S. ship for deserters. Captain Barron of the Chesapeake refused. The Leopard then fired broadside at the frigate. Three men were killed and eighteen wounded. British officers boarded the frigate and seized four men. One of the men was, in fact, a British deserter. The other three were Americans.

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