Congress declared war on Great Britain in June, 1812. The United States was ill-prepared to initiate a campaign against British Canada but was optimistic nevertheless. President Madison wanted to bring the British back to the bargaining table by using force. Preoccupied with the war in Europe, the British had a thin crust of Red Coats and local militia along the border to defend their interests. As Madison would find out in the ensuing months, it was easy to declare war, but exceedingly difficult to prosecute one.
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