War Hawk
Overview
 
War Hawk
War Hawk
War Hawk is a term originally used to describe members of the Twelfth Congress of the United States who advocated waging war against the British in the War of 1812...

 is a term originally used to describe members of the Twelfth Congress of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 who advocated waging war
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

 against the British in the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

. The term has evolved into an informal Americanism
Americanism
Americanism may refer to:* Americanization* A word or phrase considered typical of American English, English as spoken in the United States* An attitude or conviction which gives special importance to the nation, national interest, political system, or culture of the United States* Americanism ,...

 used to describe a political stance of being for aggression, by diplomatic and ultimately military means, against others to improve the standing of their own government, country, or organization. This term is usually contrasted with the term dovish, which alludes to the more peaceful dove
Dove
Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably...

.
Encyclopedia
War Hawk
War Hawk
War Hawk is a term originally used to describe members of the Twelfth Congress of the United States who advocated waging war against the British in the War of 1812...

 is a term originally used to describe members of the Twelfth Congress of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 who advocated waging war
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

 against the British in the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

. The term has evolved into an informal Americanism
Americanism
Americanism may refer to:* Americanization* A word or phrase considered typical of American English, English as spoken in the United States* An attitude or conviction which gives special importance to the nation, national interest, political system, or culture of the United States* Americanism ,...

 used to describe a political stance of being for aggression, by diplomatic and ultimately military means, against others to improve the standing of their own government, country, or organization. This term is usually contrasted with the term dovish, which alludes to the more peaceful dove
Dove
Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably...

. The term war hawks, in modern use, describes those who seek war on a country or region.

Historical War Hawks

The War Hawks are Democratic-Republicans, and were primarily from southern and western states. (The American West then consisted of Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, and Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, as well as territories in the Old Northwest which did not yet have votes in Congress.) The popular impression that they were mostly younger members of the congress has been shown to be false in recent scholarship, and indeed those advocating war were largely from the older block of the Congress and encompassed most Republicans. The War Hawks advocated going to war against Britain for reasons related to the interference of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 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 American Indians
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 on the frontier
Frontier
A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary. 'Frontier' was absorbed into English from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"--the region of a country that fronts on another country .The use of "frontier" to mean "a region at the...

 to attack American settlements, and so the War Hawks called for an invasion of British Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 to punish Britain and end this threat.

The term "War Hawk" was coined by the prominent Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph of Roanoke
John Randolph , known as John Randolph of Roanoke, was a planter and a Congressman from Virginia, serving in the House of Representatives , the Senate , and also as Minister to Russia...

, a staunch opponent of entry into the war. There was, therefore, never any "official" roster of War Hawks; as historian Donald Hickey notes, "Scholars differ over who (if anyone) ought to be classified as a War Hawk." Indeed, one scholar believes the term "no longer seems appropriate." However, most historians use the term to describe about a dozen members of the Twelfth Congress. The leader of this group was Speaker of the House Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 of Kentucky. John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 was another notable War Hawk. Both of these men became major players in American politics for decades. Other men traditionally identified as War Hawks included Richard Mentor Johnson
Richard Mentor Johnson
Richard Mentor Johnson was the ninth Vice President of the United States, serving in the administration of Martin Van Buren . He was the only vice-president ever elected by the United States Senate under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment. Johnson also represented Kentucky in the U.S...

 of Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, William Lowndes of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, Langdon Cheves
Langdon Cheves
Langdon Cheves was an American politician and a president of the Second Bank of the United States.Cheves was born at Rocky River, South Carolina and died in Columbia, South Carolina. His father, Alexander, was a native of Scotland; his mother, Mary Langdon, was from Virginia...

 of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, Felix Grundy
Felix Grundy
Felix Grundy was a U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator from Tennessee who also served as the 13th Attorney General of the United States.-Biography:...

 of Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, and William W. Bibb of Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

.

The older members of the Party, led by United States President James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 and Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

 Albert Gallatin
Albert Gallatin
Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin was a Swiss-American ethnologist, linguist, politician, diplomat, congressman, and the longest-serving United States Secretary of the Treasury. In 1831, he founded the University of the City of New York...

tried unsuccessfully to defeat the War Hawks movement. They felt the United States was not prepared for war.
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