- war hawk
1. hawk1 (def. 4).2. (caps.) U.S. Hist. any of the congressmen from the South and West, led by Henry Clay and John Calhoun, who wanted war against Britain in the period leading up to the War of 1812.
* * *Member of the U.S. Congress who advocated war with Britain (1811).The term was applied by opponents to newly elected Southern and Western congressmen who strongly promoted U.S. expansion into the Northwest and Canada and vigorously protested British aid to Indians. The anti-British fervour of the War Hawks, who included Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, helped cause the War of 1812.
* * *▪ United States historyin U.S. history, any of the expansionists primarily composed of young Southerners and Westerners elected to the U.S. Congress in 1810, whose territorial ambitions in the Northwest and Florida inspired them to agitate for war with Great Britain. The War Hawks, who included such future political leaders as Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, fiercely and aggressively resented American economic injuries and national humiliation during the Napoleonic Wars. They were further indignant over British encouragement of Indian hostilities toward settlers in the Northwest and hoped to use war with England to wrest Florida from Spain, Britain's ally. The nationalistic fervour and anti-British sentiment whipped up by the War Hawks was a contributing cause to the War of 1812 (1812, War of).
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