Our history has witnessed many great wars in the past. One of the most forgotten conflicts in American history is the War of 1812. Here are ten facts about the “Forgotten War.”
Have a look at these Facts About The War Of 1812 and feed yourself some information about the same.
Facts About The War Of 1812
Fact 1: The war was fought from 1812-to 1815 between Great Britain, the United States, and Great Britain.
The War of 1812 was fought by the United States and Great Britain, with support from their Canadian colonies and Native American allies. Just 29 years after the American War for Independence ended, Great Britain and the United States found themselves again in conflict. American President James Madison submitted a list of grievances and was granted a declaration of war four days later. The declaration was signed by Madison on June 18, 1812, initiating the war. The war lasted two years and eight-month, ending in February 1815.
Fact #2: There are many reasons Great Britain and America went to war.
The War of 1812 resulted from increasing tensions and international political conflict. Over the first ten years of the 19th Century, the American merchant marine had increased by more than twice. British citizens were concerned about American merchant shipping taking over. As part of the war with France, Britain instituted trade restrictions in 1807 that prohibited neutral countries from trading with France.
This was seen by the United States as a flagrant violation of international trade laws and specifically targeted America’s expanding economy. The British actively seized American sailors and ships and restricted American trade. This practice, known as impressment, was used by Britain to capture American soldiers and force them to serve in the royal navy. This practice was justified by the British government, which claimed that British citizens couldn’t become naturalized American citizens. They took hostages on many American ships and forced British-born citizens to join the royal navy.
The conflict did not originate in the maritime practices of either country; it was also a conflict that manifested destiny. While the British supported Native American tribes within the Northwest Territory, many Americans desired to expand westward. Thomas Jefferson was Madison’s predecessor. He had instilled in the American people that the continent was theirs to take.
Fact #3: Neither side was ready for war.
Although Congress and many Americans had petitioned for war on the British, America was not prepared for conflict. At the time, the entire United States military consisted of just 12,000 men. Despite Congress authorizing military expansion, the United States military could not grow due to harsh discipline and low pay.
Similar to the British, they were also not prepared. Many British soldiers were fighting in Spain or Portugal, and the British were already in a war against Napoleon. The blockade of France caused the French to hold up the majority of their navy. The British had 6,034 troops in Canada, but they couldn’t spare any more for their war with France.
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Fact #4: President James Madison believed that the United States could easily capture Canada.
Madison’s initial goal in the war was to capture Canada. Madison and many Americans believed that capturing Canada was not difficult. Thomas Jefferson once said, “[The] acquisition of Canada will be a simple matter of marching.” But the reality of what Americans found in Canada was far from what they expected. The 7,000 American soldiers involved in the invasion were poorly trained, untrained, and self-serving. The invasion was a failure. The British seized all of Michigan’s territory in just a few months.
Fact #5: Star-Spangled Banner was inspired by the War of 1812.
Francis Scott Key was taken to a British ship during negotiations to exchange prisoners. He was there for the entire Battle of Baltimore. He could see Fort McHenry in the American, the center of British attacks, from his position on the ship. Key watched nervously, hoping to see the American flag fly at the end of the bombardment.
This signified that American troops still owned the fort. Key watched anxiously as the American flag flew above the fort after the bombardment ended. He then wrote the first draft of a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” John Stafford Smith set the music to the poem. Woodrow Wilson recognized “The Star-Spangled Banner,” America’s national anthem, in 1931.
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Fact #6: Many prominent Americans served and fought during the War of 1812.
Many of the prominent war leaders became famous Americans later. William Henry Harrison was the hero of Tippecanoe, 1811. He gained even more fame through the War of 1812 when he led successful campaigns against Native Americans and the British in the Northwest. He was a brave general and frontiersman who, even though he was from Virginia’s elite aristocracy. The Whigs secured a presidential bid in 1841. However, he died from pneumonia after just a month in office.
General Winfield Scott gained his first military experience during the War of 1812 while fighting on the Niagara frontier. He was able to see the ineptly trained citizen militias of the War of 1812 and worked hard to create a permanent American army. Scott created General Regulations to the Army in 1821, the first set of American military bylaws. Later, he commanded the Mexican American War campaign to capture Mexico City. He also designed the Anaconda plan during the Civil War.
Andrew Jackson was the American most famously associated with the war. Jackson was a major general of Tennessee’s militia during the War of 1812. He was the first to fight in the Creek War. He was promoted to General after accepting the surrender of the Creeks in 1814. Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 18, 1815, shortly after the Treaty of Ghent was signed. Jackson was hailed as the “savior” of New Orleans after this victory. Jackson’s national recognition and military record enabled him to win the 1828 presidential election.
Fact #7: Washington D.C.’s United States Capitol was destroyed during World War II.
The Battle of Bladensburg saw British General Robert Ross capture the capital of the United States and set fire to the essential government buildings. British soldiers set fire to the Capitol Building and the Executive Mansion (the White House). A massive thunderstorm sparked a storm that destroyed the fires and forced the British to evacuate the city. Although the British held D.C. for only 26 hours, it was the longest time that a foreign enemy had captured Washington D.C.
Fact #8: Officially ended the war with the Treaty of Ghent.
Although the Treaty of Ghent was officially signed on December 24, 1814, and not officially ratified until February 17, 18,15, it ended the war. Although Britain made clear gains in the war, many British military personnel, including the prime minister, advocated for a peace treaty that did not require the acquisition of territory.
The Duke of Wellington stated that they might eventually gain territory, but the “state of [our] current military operations, however creditable [us] does not entitle us to demand any.” American counterparts wanted an end to the war as America was in huge foreign debt. Both sides reached an essentially status-quo antebellum deal, restoring borders to prewar levels. Although America didn’t secure its maritime rights, the British war against Napoleon ended. The Royal Navy no longer required the same amount of human resources as it did during wartime. The practice of impressment was officially discontinued.
Fact #9: The war was won by almost every single group.
Both civilians and officials from both the United States and Britain were happy with the war’s conclusion. The Battle of New Orleans was the last battle of the war. Americans saw this as a decisive victory that established America’s independence. Many in Great Britain considered this war a part of the larger wars with France, which the British won at Waterloo. The war gave Canadians a sense of pride. Canadian pride was rekindled after the American invasion. Native Americans were the only group that lost the war. They lost their strong British allies and were soon overthrown by American settlers.
Fact #10: Many of the battlefields of the War of 1812 are still in existence today.
The War of 1812 is often called America’s Forgotten War. Many of its battlefields remain undeveloped. The National Parks Service identified 214 battlefields in 2007 and other important sites for the War of 1812. These sites are now in danger due to development. The National Parks Service identified 214 battlefields and other important sites for the War of 1812.