An Opinion on the History of the War of 1812

The years following the war of 1812, otherwise known as the ‘Era of Good Feelings,’ must be considered a time of exceptional growth and development in the United States, but above all it should be considered a time of evolution and ripening of American nationalism, unification, and economic progress. The War of 1812 was a very difficult war. States did not fulfill their duties to support the war effort. As a result, commanders and leaders were not kept informed or supplied enough men and munitions to keep up the war. What came about during this time and afterwards was something much greater than victory. The war was not just about Britain holding land and impressing American sailors into their navy; it was a second war of independence. It was the first war as a united country, and it was a small new nation against a large European empire. The war of 1812 began long before war was ever declared. It began right after the war of independence. The British were resentful of the U.S. breaking away from their empire, and they soon figured out that many revolts were because the U.S. had fought and won. The British began to tax U.S. merchants, hassled their ships, and continued the disrespect of American sovereignty; however, the British soon crossed the line.

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and Great Britain from June 1812 to March 1815. The main fighting occurred along the Canadian border, and along the Gulf of Mexico, it also took place at sea. This was the first war since American independence in 1781. The War of 1812 was a carryover to a war going on at the same time between Great Britain and France. The United States being France’s ally. The demand for war came from western and southern United States. New England opposed going to war. The War of 1812 began with the American invasion of Canada. This war was one of the strangest wars, some of the reasons are: The peace treaty that was settled after the war ended, had not settled any issues which had been fought for. The war could been avoided if there had been faster communication between the two countries. The young United States were willing to risk war against the powerful Great Britain. Another strange occurrence that happened when the war was over, was that both sides claimed victory.

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The American economy had never been especially strong, but in 1808 when President Jefferson’s trade idea went into effect, not being able to trade freely with Britain and the rest of Europe sent the American economy quickly into a depression. Because of the depression net earnings from the shipping industry fell by almost fifty percent and its estimated that almost thirty thousand sailors and one hundred thousand people in support related industries lost their jobs. Earnings from legitimate business enterprises fell to less than a quarter of what their value was in 1807. The depression crippled many eastern towns especially New England where their economy had become almost entirely dependent upon the shipping trade.

When we hear the phase, “the forgotten war”, most of us think of the military conflict on the Korean Peninsula from June 1950 to July 1953. The most famous incident of this “forgotten war” occurred in 1951, when President Truman relieved General MacArthur of his command. MacArthur returned to America, where he was hailed as a hero and urged to run for president. He chose instead to retire to private life after a farewell address to a joint session of Congress in which he quoted a World War I British Army song: “Old soldiers never die; they simply fade away” (“1951”, 1995, 1996). However, the US has an earlier, more important, and almost completely forgotten war. This is the War of 1812, in which the young nation won its independence from Great Britain for the second time in less than fifty years. Few people today are aware that the United States had to fight the War of Independence twice, or that the US ever had a war with Canada. The War of 1812 placed the US against its former colonial ruler, Great Britain, and lasted two and a half years. The war reached its high point with the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, and thereafter, Britain finally came to recognize the US as an independant country.

My Opinion on the War of 1812:

Had the United States been able to stay neutral this war might have been avoided. In reality don’t think this war was anymore avoidable than World War I or World War II. American pride along with the fact that we were a young nation trying to form an identity, experiencing a depression, political unrest, and being provoked at nearly every turn by Britain, made this war impossible to prevent.

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