American Minute with Bill Federer

JUNE 18 - War of 1812, President James Madison's appeal to the Almighty

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The War of 1812 began on JUNE 18, 1812.

While Napoleon was conquering Europe and invading Russia, the British attempted to take America back.



The British captured nearly a thousand American ships, impressing and enslaving thousands of Americans.

The British made alliances with Shawnee leader Tecumseh, who rallied Indians to attack American settlements.




Incited by Tecumseh and armed through British aid, the Red Stick Creek Indians attacked Fort Mims, Alabama, on August 30, 1813.



Driven by rumors the British were paying cash for scalps, the Red Sticks killed over 500 men, women and children in the largest Indian massacre in American history.



Outraged, many volunteered for the Army, including Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and Daniel Boone, though Boone was turned down due to his age of 78.

They British attacked on Lake Eire.



They invaded the U.S. Capitol and burnt the White House, the Library of Congress, the Treasury, the Patent Office and the Navy Yard.

They captured Maine's cities of Eastport, Castine, Hampden, Bangor and Machias.



They bombarded Fort McHenry and attacked New Orleans.

At the beginning of the War, President James Madison had addressed Congress, March 9, 1812:

"The British Government, through its public minister here, a secret agent of that Government was employed...fomenting disaffection...and in intrigues with the disaffected, for the purpose of...destroying the Union...

The discovery of such a procedure...will not fail to render more dear to the hearts of all good citizens that happy union of these States which, under Divine Providence, is the guaranty of their liberties."



On June 1, 1812, President James Madison told Congress:

"We behold...on the side of Great Britain a state of war...Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs...shall commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events."



In a Proclamation of War, June 19, 1812, President James Madison stated:

"I do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States...as they feel the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations...to consult the best means under the blessing of Divine Providence of abridging its calamities."



President Madison, who had introduced the First Amendment in the First Session of Congress, proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer, July 9, 1812:

"A day, to be set apart for the devout purpose of rendering the Sovereign of the Universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes;

of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness, and His assistance in the great duties of repentance...

and especially of offering fervent supplications that in the present season of calamity and war He would take the American people under His peculiar care and protection...

turning the hearts of our enemies from the violence and injustice which sway their councils against us, He would hasten a restoration of the blessings of peace."



On November 4, 1812, in his Fourth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:

"The war in which we are actually engaged in...was preceded by a patience without example under wrongs accumulating without end...

Appeal was accordingly made...to the Just and All-powerful Being who holds in His hand the chain of events and the destiny of nations...

We prosecute the war with united counsels...until peace be so obtained...under the Divine blessing."

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On February 24, 1813, President James Madison told Congress:

"Great Britain had already introduced into her commerce during the war a system...resting on a mass of forgery and perjury...making an unfortunate progress in undermining those principles of morality and religion which are the best foundation of national happiness....

The general tendency of these demoralizing and disorganizing contrivances will be reprobated by the civilized and Christian world."



On March 4, 1813, President James Madison stated in his Second Inaugural Address:

"I should be compelled to shrink if I...felt less deeply a conviction that the war with a powerful nation...is stamped with that justice which invites the smiles of Heaven on the means of conducting it to a successful termination."

On May 25, 1813, in a Special Session Message to Congress, President James Madison stated:

"The contest in which the United States are engaged appeals...to the sacred obligation of transmitting entire to future generations that precious...independence which is held in trust by the present from the goodness of Divine Providence."



On July 23, 1813, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer:

"In times of public calamity such as that of the war...it is especially becoming that the hearts of all should be...turned to that Almighty Power in whose hands are the welfare and the destiny of nations...

For...He has blessed the United States with a political Constitution founded on the will and authority of the whole people and guaranteeing to each individual security, not only of his person and his property, but of those sacred rights of conscience so essential to his present happiness and so dear to his future hopes...

that He would pardon our manifold transgressions and awaken and strengthen in all the wholesome purposes of repentance...so He would...bestow His blessings on our arms in resisting the hostile...

If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy of the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences...that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, freed from all coercive edicts...

and making no appeal but to reason, to the heart, and to the conscience, can spread its benign influence everywhere and can attract to the divine altar those freewill offerings of humble supplication."



On December 7, 1813, in his Fifth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:

"It has pleased the Almighty to bless our arms both on the land and on the water....On Lake Erie, the squadron under the command of Captain Perry having met the British squadron of superior force, a sanguinary conflict ended in the capture of the whole...

We may humbly repose our trust in the smiles of Heaven on so righteous a cause."



On September 1, 1814, in a National Proclamation after the British had invaded the Capitol, President James Madison stated:

"The enemy by a sudden incursion have succeeded in invading the capitol...though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices...

The glory acquired by their fathers in establishing the independence which is now to be maintained by their sons with the augmented strength and resources with which time and Heaven had blessed them."



On September 20, 1814, in his Sixth Annual Message, President James Madison stated:

"The capture of nearly a thousand American vessels and the impressment of thousands of American seafaring citizens...by the Government of Great Britain...

Our beloved country...persevering hostility...must carry with it the good wishes of the impartial world and the best hopes of support from an Omnipotent and Kind Providence."



On November 16, 1814, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer:

"In the present time of public calamity and war a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God...for...His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace...

voluntarily offering...humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance."



When the war ended, President James Madison addressed Congress, February 18, 1815:

"I lay before Congress copies of the treaty of peace and amity between the United States and His Britannic Majesty...We accord in grateful acknowledgments for the protection which Providence has bestowed upon us."



On March 4, 1815, President James Madison proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving:

"To be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace.

No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States...

To the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land...especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace."


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