Leading up to the War of 1812
In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte came to power in France and succeeded in establishing his own dictatorship. As conflict developed between England and France, the United States adopted a neutral stance, and traded with both nations. In an attempt to disrupt each others trade, both England and France issued orders and decrees that ended up hampering the American trade.
In retaliation, the American Congress passed the Embargo Act in 1807, which kept American ships at home, depriving both France and Britain of the American trade of which they had both grown dependent. The Act plunged the country into a depression, and many traders turned to smuggling: goods were illegally traded to Canadians, who, being British, were capable of international trade. These further frustrations and the continued restraints imposed by the British on the Americans contributed to a declaration of War by the United States on June 18, 1812. The Americans sought reprieve from the British restraints by ousting the English from North America altogether.