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Edited by J.C.A. Stagg, Jeanne Kerr Cross, Jewel L. Spangler, Ellen J. Barber, Martha J. King, Anne Mandeville Colony, and Susan Holbrook Perdue
This fourth volume covers events in James Madison's first administration between 5 November 1811 and 9 July 1812, corresponding almost exactly with the duration of the first session of the Twelfth Congress. Madison's two most important presidential decisions buttress this volume: his advocacy of preparedness in November 1811 and his request in June 1812 that Congress consider his case for war against Great Britain.
The documents from the intervening months chart the difficulties of the path to war. On the diplomatic front, Madison worked to clarify French policy toward neutrals. On the domestic front, divided opinions over war are revealed in addresses from citizens an state legislatures. Madison planned offensive operations against Canada, imposed an embargo on shipping, and endured threats to his renomination for a second term. Finally, Madison delivered his "war message" to Congress in June 1812, accusing Great Britain of an accumulation of grievances that stretch back to 1803.
This volume also includes a supplement of forty-five items of newly discovered material from March 1809 to October 1811.
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