Do You REALLY Know Your History? The War Of 1812 Was Fought Over Hemp!

I remember (vaguely) learning about the War of 1812 in history class. (History was/is not my best subject, but now I am enjoying going back and re-learning.)

We were taught that the War of 1812 was fought for several reasons, some of them being trade restrictions, British support of American Indian tribes against American expansion, and America’s desire to annex Canada (which, of course, didn’t happen).

Each country that participated in the War of 1812 (Britain, U.S., Russia) has it’s own story that it has written in its history books and taught in schools, but as far as the U.S. is concerned, the REAL history is not taught.

The War of 1812 was fought over HEMP!

Below are a few excerpts from The Emperor Wears No Clothes regarding the War of 1812:

“1740 on…

Russia, because of its cheap slave/serf labor, produces 80% of the western world’s cannabis hemp and finished hemp products, and is, by far, the world’s best-quality manufacturer of cannabis hemp for sails, rope, rigging and nets.

Cannabis is Russia’s number-one trading commodity – ahead of its furs, timber and iron.

1740 to 1807

Great Britain buys 90% or more of its marine hemp from Russia; Britain’s navy and world sea trade runs on Russian hemp; each British ship must replace 50 to 100 tons of hemp every year or two.

There is no substitute; flax sails, for example, unlike hemp sails, would start rotting in three months or less from salt air and spray.

1803 to 1807


Britain continues to trade for and buy 90% of its hemp directly from Russia.



Napoleon and Czar Alexander of Russia sign the Treaty of Tilset, which cuts off all legal Russian trade with Great Britain, its allies, or any other neutral nation ship acting as agents for Great Britain in Russia.

The treaty also sets up a buffer zone, the Warsaw Duchy (approximately Central Eastern Poland) between Napoleon’s allies and Russia.

Napoleon’s strategy – and his most important goal with the treaty – is to stop Russian hemp from reaching England, thereby destroying Britain’s navy by forcing it to cannibalize sails, ropes, and rigging from other ships; and Napoleon believes that eventually, with no Russian hemp for its huge navy, Britain will be forced to end its blockade of France and the Continent.

1807 to 1809

The United States is considered a neutral country by Napoleon, as long as its ships do not trade with or for Great Britain, and the United States considers itself to be neutral in the war between France and Great Britain.

However, Congress passes the 1806 Non-Importation Pact: British articles which are produced in the U.S., but which could be produced elsewhere, are prohibited. Congress also passes the 1807 Embargo Act, to wit: American ships could not bring or carry products to or from Europe.

These laws hurt America more than Europe; however, many Yankee traders ignored the law anyway.

1807 to 1810

Secretly, however, Britain offers the captured American traders a “deal” (actually a blackmail proposition) when they “overhaul” – board and confiscate – an American ship and bring it into an English port.

The deal: Either lose your ship and cargos forever, or go to Russia and secretly buy hemp for Britain, who will pay American traders with gold in advance, and more gold when the hemp is delivered back.

At the same time, the Americans will be allowed to keep and trade their own goods (rum, sugar, spices, cotton, coffee, tobacco) to the Czar for hemp – a double profit for the Americans.


The United States, cut off from 80% of its Russian hemp supply, debates war in Congress.

Ironically, it is representatives of the western states who argue for war under the excuse of “impressed” American sailors. However, the representatives of the maritime states, fearful of loss of trade, argue against war, even though it’s their shipping, crews, and states that are allegedly afflicted.

Not one senator from a maritime state votes for war with Great Britain, whereas virtually all western senators vote for war, hoping to take Canada from Britain and fulfill their dream of “Manifest Destiny,” in the mistaken belief that Great Britain is too busy with the European wars against Napoleon to protect Canada.

It’s interesting to note that Kentucky, a big supporter of the war which disrupted the overseas hemp trade, was actively building up its own domestic hemp industry.

At this time, 1812, American ships could pick up hemp from Russia and return with it three times faster and cheaper than shippers could get hemp from Kentucky to the East Coast over land (at least, until the Erie Canal was completed in 1825; shortening travel time dramatically by as much as 90%).

The western states win in Congress, and on June 18, 1812, the United States is at war with Britain.

America enters the war on the side of Napoleon, who marches on Moscow also in June of 1812.”

(An interesting side note – all schoolbooks up until the 1880s were made from hemp.)

So, this brings questions to my mind – why was the REAL reason for the war not told? Why was it ‘hidden’ from our history lessons? Were earlier generations taught the truth? Was the history story ‘changed’ for future generations? And, was else was ‘hidden’ from us as far as history is concerned?

It looks like I’ll be brushing up more on my history, and digging for the REAL truths!