‘The war has renewed and reinstated the national feelings and character which the Revolution had given, and which were daily lessened.’ (“The war has renewed and reinstated the national feelings and character which the Revolution had given.”) This remark was stated by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Albert Gallatin, at the conclusion of the War of 1812. It explains how this war greatly increased the overall spirit and patriotism of Americans. To start off, the reason for the war was that the British requested America to cease trading with the French and coming to their harbors. On the other hand, the French desired America to cease going to British harbors (Good). This conflict started a the war between Britain and America. Although this event had many tragedies, the most significant one of this horrid event was the Burning of Washington, when several federal buildings were burned down including the White House. It was for revenge for the destruction in Canada caused by the US Army (“Suffers by the Pillage and Burning of Washington”). In the end America’s bold actions, led the British to burn Washington deliberately. Even though tragedy struck America when the British burned down the White House during the War of 1812, Americans triumphed through the enactment of a peace treaty and rebuilding of federal structures.
To begin with, the President during the time of the War of 1812 was James Madison along with the First Lady Dolley Madison. Together they were a very unusual couple and there different ages and personalities. James was older than Dolley and a bookworm, unlike Dolley who was the life of the party (‘James Madison marries Dolley Payne Todd”). Both of their contrasting personalities made it seem unusual for them to get married, yet they still did. Dolley had all the social graces her intellectual husband lacked. They got married in 1794, before James Madison was the President. Though during the time when Madison was President, he was in the field while Dolley was in the White House. Later on in their lives, they had a son together which, in time eventually led to him leaving his Mother in debt (‘James Madison marries Dolley Payne Todd”). This most likely put Dolley in great distress, having the thought of dying poor because of her prodigal son. Luckily, her money troubles were solved once she sold her husband’s papers to Congress. Without her husband’s writings, Dolley probably would have died penniless (‘James Madison marries Dolley Payne Todd’). The war of 1812 occurred during Madison’s presidency, and he suffered through the Burning of Washington. It was revenge for the destruction in Canada caused by the US Army (“Suffers by the Pillage and Burning of Washington.”) Ultimately, the President and First Lady who lived through the War of 1812 were James and Dolley Madison, when the White House was burned to the ground.
Secondly, several federal buildings were burned to the ground. During the War of 1812 the Battle of Bladensburg was big and important British victory (Graves). It was the only thing that stood between the British and Washington D.C., though in the end, the Americans suffered from a horrid defeat. The Americans ran away from the scene, which was later called the “Bladensburg Races” (Graves). Although the Americans had more troops, the British had the advantage in artillery and cavalry (Greenspan ). Once the enemy had successfully infiltrated Washington D.C., the city was set aflame. Federal buildings such as the Capitol, President’s House, War Office, Treasury Office, were targeted. Building of lesser importance were also burned too, such as Magazine at Green Leafs Point, and Public Stores (“Suffers by the Pillage and Burning of Washington” ). Surprisingly enough, the British weren’t the only ones setting places on fire. America was trying to keep the Navy Yards supplies out of the hands of the British. As a result, it was burned by the Americans (Graves). Many valuable possessions were either burned or stolen by the British unless someone made a effort to save an item. Dolley Madison, the First Lady, saved a painting of George Washington from being burned for future generations (Graves) This action was very heroic and most likely wouldn’t be done by many other people. She also took things such as important government papers and valued belongings (Graves). Ultimately, Washington had to restart in building and development. Washington was in ruins and there was debris everywhere. The president during this time was President Monroe, in 1817, when the White House was partially rebuilt, yet there was still debris (Stewart). Overall, several federal building were burned to the ground.
Lastly, federal buildings were built new and improved, a treaty with Britain was signed, and the patriotism of the citizens of America greatly increased which resulted in the Star Spangled Banner. To start off, Treaty of Ghent Signed Peace with Britain, and John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay were the negotiators (‘Treaty of Ghent’). This treaty finally ended this long war, which would have probably been more beneficial if the war didn’t happen at all.The little benefit of the war was that it expanded both countries commerce, trade, and most importantly, the creation of America’s national anthem(‘Treaty of Ghent’). Patriotic feelings were in Americans and after this war, including Francis Scott Key, who wrote the poem, Star-Spangled Banner. Francis Scott Key was a lawyer, who owned a law practice in a suburb in Washington D.C.. The Americans victory at Fort Henry inspired Francis Scott Key to write this poem, which later appeared in the newspaper. Later on, President Herbert Hoover made this poem the national anthem (“Star Spangled Banner History”). This poem written during the War of 1812, reluctantly made its way to being the trademark song of America. On the other hand, the White House was rebuilt fully, unlike before this event the White House was only half finished. The walls were painted white to cover up the black traces of smoke and flame on its walls. Therefore the name the “White House”. Along with its the new structure there was new furniture and china which added a nice touch. The china had the crest of a eagle, and a shield and stars. French furniture was imported with American Eagles on them (Stewart). To conclude, federal buildings were built new and improved, a treaty with Britain was signed, and the patriotism of the citizens of America greatly increased which resulted in the Star Spangled Banner.
The Burning of Washington was like an army of termites, bent on destruction, prepared for a feast. The statement perfectly resembles what happened during the Burning of Washington, by comparing hungry termites to the British army who were determined to invade and demolish Washington’s federal buildings. Even though tragedy struck America when the British burned down the White House during the War of 1812, Americans triumphed through the enactment of a peace treaty and rebuilding of federal structures. The biggest lesson that the U.S. learned was probably that war can be really destructive and if the country is going into war everyone needs to be prepared and most of all, determined to win. Since America was still a young country it wasn’t prepared for this war, yet part of the reason that the war was won was because of everyone’s patriotism and determination. “The people […] are more American; they feel and act more as a nation; and I hope the permanency of the Union is thereby better secured.”(“The war has renewed and reinstated the national feelings and character which the Revolution had given”.)