Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The War Hawks were mostly young men who had been imbued with the ideals of the American Revolution as youths, and were primarily from southern and western states (the American West then being Kentucky and Tennessee as well as Ohio and the territories in the Old Northwest which did not yet have votes in Congress). The leader of the War Hawks was Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky; John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was another notable War Hawk. Both of these men would become giants on the American political landscape for decades. Other War Hawks included Peter B. Porter of New York, Langdon Cheves and William Lowndes of South Carolina, Felix Grundy of Tennessee, and Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky.
The War Hawks advocated going to war against Great Britain for a variety of reasons, mostly related to the interference of the Royal Navy in American shipping, which the War Hawks believed hurt the American economy and injured American prestige. War Hawks from the western states also believed that the British were instigating Native Americans on the frontier to attack American settlements, and so the War Hawks called for an invasion of British Canada to end this threat. They were labeled "War Hawks" by fellow House member John Randolph of Virginia, a political opponent.
The term War Hawk (or warhawk, or simply hawk) has often been used since the War of 1812 to describe people with hawkish positions on warfare.
- Horsman, Reginald. The Causes of the War of 1812. New York: A.S. Barnes, 1962.
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