Tecumseh's Uprising

Over time this American desire to transform Detroit and Michigan also led to conflict with the Indians. In 1806 and again in 1807 rumors of an Indian uprising caused Hull to call out the militia. In 1807 he signed the Treaty of Brownstown in which several tribes ceded the southeastern corner of Michigan to the federal government. Hull's work among the Indians was likely made far simpler because Detroit had yet to see its first American settler. It was in Ohio and Indiana, where settlers were rapidly pouring west, that conflict with the Indians was becoming inevitable. Conditions began to develop in these areas that would lead to a new Indian war involving both Britain and Detroit.

The Indian tribes most affected by the rapid arrival of American settlers decided the time had come to fight in order to stop the white advance. As they had forty years earlier, the Indians again found an able leader. This time it was the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. Tecumseh was successful in uniting the northern tribes in a war alliance. In 1811 they fought a battle at Tippecanoe. The Indians were defeated but not as decisively as was claimed by Indiana's governor William Henry Harrison. Harrison's heated rhetoric about the battle not only exaggerated his success but also inflamed western sentiment against the British. Most settlers already believed that the British were actively aiding the Indians, and Harrison confirmed their darkest suspicions by claiming the Indians killed at Tippecanoe had received virtually new weapons from the British. For a considerable period of time Britain and the United States had disagreed about the rights of neutral American merchant ships to trade with France, with which England was at war. News of British-supported Indians in the west waging war against settlers in Ohio and Indiana tipped the balance in Congress in favor of drastic action. In 1812, America declared war on Britain.