Attitudes and practices which evolved during the colonial years persisted through the War of 1812, profoundly influencing the development of military institutions. The American Republic took shape in a time of conflict. From the onset of hostilities with Great Britain until the Senate approved the Treaty of Ghent Americans strove to reach a consensus governing military affairs. For a long time the work on the military history of colonial America tended to be limited to either the involvement of the colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth century European wars for empire or conflicts with the Native Americans. The end of the war saw a burst of westward expansion which provoked conflict with Native Americans as far west as the Mississippi River. A permanent navy and Navy Department appeared at the end of the decade in response to French interference with American merchant shipping.