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In 1814, as Napoleon’s troops prepared for their final battle against the armies of England and her continental allies, England’s second war—against the United States—seemed far removed from her vital national interests. Naval defeats on the Great Lakes made it impossible to successfully prosecute the war, and Jackson’s defense of New Orleans had dampened the Foreign Office’s enthusiasm for a military victory. During the two years of hostilities, however, while victory eluded the British, harassing actions continued on the high seas and commerce was disrupted whenever possible, affecting many aspects of American life.

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