The Editor writes in the Foreword: This volume consists of a narrative and analytical historical essay, Part 1, within which the author has identified by use of head notes (i.e. Alternative 1) the choices he believes were actually before the decision makers with whom his is concerned. Part 2, contains in whole the most appropriate source documents that illustrate the Part 1, Alternatives. The Part 2 documents and Part 1 essay are keyed for convenient learning use (i.e., references in Part 1 will direct readers to appropriate Part 2 documents). The volume's Part 3 offers the user further guidance in the form of a Bibliographical Essay. Looking backward to the origins of what Americans call the War of 1812 allows readers insights from that hindsight not available to Jeffersonian decision makers, including President James Madison. Few living scholars have studied Madison's letters and other writings as intently as Professor Robert A. Rutland, who is presently editor of the massive Papers of James Madison publication project at the University of Virginia. In the following pages Professor Rutland offers a hard, lively review of what became a road to war, and an improved understanding of why that generation chose it.