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Free Trade & Sailors’ Rights!

The principal issue in the War of 1812 was American insistence on “Free Trade & Sailors’ Rights.” Free Trade was the desire of the United States as a neutral country amidst the global struggle of the Napoleonic Wars to continue selling goods to and buying them from both the British and their allies and the French Empire and the nations under its control. Sailors’ Rights asserted the protection of crew-members on American merchant vessels from impressment into either the British or French navy.