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I'm doing some research on this topic for my American Studies class, and I'm having a little trouble with this.

I would appreciate a brief overview of this, or possibly some primary sources for me to look through.

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Any history of the war of 1812, or perhaps "Worst of Friends - Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain." This question would be improved by preliminary research. –  Mark C. Wallace Oct 21 '13 at 11:57
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The most important bit of background information here is that Britain spent that period dedicated to thwarting France (particularly its continental ambitions). This was the basic diplomatic split in western politics.

In the USA, the Democratic Party tended to be very suspicous of England (for various reasons, the most practical of which was the clash of its southern base with the anti-slavery movement in the UK), and more sympathetic towards France. The Federalists (and later the Whigs), had their base in the commercial cities of the NorthEast. These areas had very strong ties of trade, culture, and religon (and did I mention trade?) to England, and thus tended to be more sympathetic to England, and less so with France.

US foriegn policy tended to veer from one to the other, depending on which party was in power. For instance, the War of 1812 against Great Britain, and the very favorable Louisiana Purchase, both occurred during Democractic administrations.

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Note I'm using the modern name of Jefferson and Jackson's party ("Democrats") in this answer. This party has gone by a lot of names over the years we are discussing (eg: "Democratic-Republicans", "Jacksonians") before the modern name was settled upon. –  T.E.D. Oct 21 '13 at 20:28
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