The War of 1812

The War of 1812


The War of 1812 with Britain resulted from issues of neutral world trade, conscription of U.S. men into the British Navy, and a rumored British alliance with enemy Indians. The American forces blundered badly on the battlefield, but succeeded on the seas. At the end of the war America earned a new foreign respect and cut the final colonial ties with England. While the War of 1812 may be the worst fought American war, it created a more unified nation, dedicated to making the United States a great country.

U.S. Declares War on Britain

  • Washington, D.C.

On June 1, 1812, President James Madison asked Congress for a declaration of war on Britain. More than two weeks later, on June 18, 1812, Congress agreed upon the declaration, but the votes displayed a divided Congress: House, 79 to 49 for war; Senate, 19 to 13 for war. This division reflected the greater separation among the citizens of the nation. While the “war hawks” chanted, “On to Canada, on to Canada,” the Federalists discussed New England’s succession from the Union. However, the war ultimately ended with victories on the seas and at New Orleans, which boosted American nationalism and foreign respect. For the twelve years after the war, America flourished economically and nationally at home and abroad. This declaration of war started a new chapter in America’s history and gained her a lasting status as an independent nation.

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