The War of 1812

(June 18, 1812 – December 24, 1814)

 The Second American Revolutionary War

After losing the 13 colonies to George Washington and American revolutionaries 25 years earlier, England still did not recognize the United States as a serious nation.  At war with France, Great Britain was desperate to find sailors for their fleet of over 1,000 ships.  Many seamen had deserted the British Navy to serve on U.S. vessels.  In the hopes of recovering some of the British deserters, Great Britain began to stop and search American merchant ships, and claimed the right to take back British seamen serving on them.  Frequently, they also took Americans.

Eventually the United States, through an Embargo Act, banned all American ships from foreign trade.  Due to the arrogance of the British Navy at sea, their backing of the Indians on America’s frontiers, and the desire of America to acquire the other half of the North American continent — Canada — which was still in the hands of the King of England, Americans were determined to make another attempt at eradicating the British presence in North America.  When Great Britain realized that war with America was a reality, it revoked the authorized seizures at sea, but it was too late. On June 18, 1812, the United States astonished the world by declaring war on Great Britain.

Once the first shot was fired, countless amounts of fierce battles were fought, including the Battle of Frenchtown (January 1813); the Battle of York (Canada- April, 1813); the Battle of Lake Erie (September, 1813); the Battle of Thames (Canada, September, 1813; the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (March, 1814), and the Battle of Baltimore (September, 1814).  Interestingly, it was the Battle of Baltimore that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner.  Another one of the most important battles of the war was the Battle of Lake Champlain.  Here, an army of about 10,000 British advanced into the United States from Montreal.  A weakened American force was all that stood between them and New York City.  On September 11, 1814, Captain Thomas MacDonough led the charge that destroyed the British fleet, forcing them to retreat back into Canada.  Equally important was the Battle of New Orleans, (January, 1815), which ironically occurred after the war officially ended.  Under the command of General Andrew Jackson, New Orleans was saved, though 700 British were killed, with 1400 wounded and several hundred more captured.  By contrast, the American loss consisted of eight fallen, with 13 wounded.

On December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812 but resolved none of the issues that had incited it in the first place. In fact, the War of 1812 is, in itself, a little known war in American History.  Although its complex causes ultimately ended in a stalemate, the war helped establish a very young United States among other nations, and cultivated a strong sense of American national pride. Those patriotic feelings live on today, reflected and preserved in our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

— Pam Russo

About the Author: Tireless patriot, dedicated grassroots activist, devout Catholic and Liberty Tree proprietor Pam Russo is a virtual office assistant who resides in New York. Follow her on twitter @LibertyTreeShop and connect with her on Facebook.


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