If you live in Monroe County you have probably heard of the River Raisin Massacre, and the War of 1812. The site of the River Raisin Massacre, was established as the 393rd unit of the United States National Park Service on March 30, 2009. It officially began operation as a national park on October 22, 2010 and, of the four National Battlefield Parks in the country, it is the only one marking a site of the War of 1812.
So, what exactly was the war of 1812 and how did the River Raisin Massacre factor into all of this? Thirty-six years after the conclusion of the American Revolution, the new country of American once again found itself at war with Britain, along with their respective allies. In June of 1812 the young American Nation declared war against of Great Britain. This would be the first time the Americans declared war against another country.
The causes behind the war were numerous and complicated. One factor was the British practice of impressing American sailors into the Royal Navy. The British were in the throes of the Napoleonic wars and the British Royal Navy was in need of sailors. The British Navy would capture American ships on the high seas and impress the American sailors into service. Another issue was British trade restrictions imposed on the United States.
A third factor was American Expansion. In 1803 Thomas Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Purchase which began the further expansion of the American Territories. Native American tribes, led by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh disapproved of this further expansion into Native Lands. The American forces were also interested in moving north into the Canadian territory, which did not sit well with Canadians or their British backers.
So what about the River Raisin Massacre? Why was this battle important? Why do we have a national park commemorating this particular event here in Monroe County?
Well, let’s talk about that more in the next blog post, shall we?
In the meantime, if you want to read up on the war of 1812 here are some excellent resources to consider-