History of War of 1812 Essay

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“Once blamed for the errors in the war, Madison was eventually hailed for its triumphs.” Leaving the United States in shock James Madison transformed his viewpoint from the people of the nation one hundred and eighty degrees to the correct direction. James Madison being the Father of the Constitution, writer of the Bill or Rights, influential and important politician, founder of the Democratic-Republican Party, and 4th President declared war in 1812. The War of 1812, also called the Second War of Independence or Mr Madison’s War, dealt with the dispute between the United States and Britain in this time. Receiving much opposition for war, Madison stuck with it in full force with many there to support. Some said that the war was fought out of intimidation as well as a sign of influence in the world and others said that “the war was fought for ‘Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights.’’ It was said to have these reasoning behind war due to the fact that Britain was already in a war across the ocean and would much rather spend time and effort on that rather than with the young US. Another reason war was declared was because the US had been getting “tossed” around in the manor that their ships had been attacked as well as taxes placed on them and other rules in order to try and hurt the economy. Eventually war seized in New Orleans in December with the Treaty of Ghent, a formal peace agreement between the sides. Once war settled the view started to change in favor of Madison. Although James Madison’s War of 1812 decisions left the country hopeless and in immediate despair—without him, his personality, and decisions in office—the United States would have been treated with little respect, left with a weakened ability in military power as a whole until many years in the future, and left with a frail foundation that the young nation hoped to avoid.

Many people of the time viewed James Madison very poorly and as an unfit leader for office, which left them with disconnect in his decision on declaring war in the early stages of the country’s existence. Having said to have been unfit for office as a President the Senate barely approved Madison’s request for war by a slim margin on June 18 of the year. Barely passing both sections of government showed little interest in war as a whole country, many doubting the country as well as the main one pushing for war, Madison. Viewed as unconfident to the public and with some hesitation and resistance “by the late 1811 the so-called “War Hawks” in Congress were putting more and more pressure on Madison, and on June 18, 1812, the president signed a declaration of war against Britain”. The “War Hawks” were a group of men in favor of war and would push to do whatever needed in order for war to escalate, the opposite of these men were called “doves” in hope for peace. Once war was declared Congress had not properly funded military needs as well as war efforts, causing a number of states to not support it through funds as well as requirements to help serve. With little hope from the states as a whole, the war was not looking as hoped for by Madison and political leaders. With Madison not showing his emotions and thoughts more states hesitated with backing down or staying with them sharing opinion on what they though. Joking around the nickname “Mr Madison’s War” came to stick and spread due to the criticism he received for being “the only” one in favor of war as well as from our current hardships we underwent with Britain focusing in more on this skirmish. Through the later part of the war “Madison was often criticized and blamed for the difficulties stemming from the war”. At the height for the British was burning the White House, many Americans are to have said that the President was left “homeless”, which showed an all time low for the nation in the early stage of a country. With only three decent Presidents prior this was not looking good for the nations direction and presidential view. As all came to an end it was said that “Madison at first continued Jefferson’s less aggressive policy of diplomatic and economic pressure to force Britain to negotiate” peace ideas. Showing a laid back and less confident approach of terms Madison has been said to sound unprofessional giving the United States a feeling of weakened status. Holding strong till the end the United States won the most crucial battle, leading them to victory with the Treaty of Ghent.

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After the War of 1812, the view of Madison took a turn, soon being hailed for all the immediate victories the United States gained as a result of the battles the US undertook while suffering in the moment. Immediately after victory, while traveling around the country “People soon became glad to see him and all he has done by gathering crowds, especially in Boston where he gained a crowd of 40,000. This shows a remarkable change of heart in a region that had been strongly opposed to the War of 1812 and Madison’s Administration”. The scenes he witnessed on his journey left him in shock but also with a sense of great achievement for the people he governed. One said the crowd looked like a group gathering for an inauguration speech for a President fit for all. This was a completely different idea as before the war and towards the beginning, “Madison was popular again and his remaining two years as President were pleasant.”. Unable to get too confident and welcoming Madison knew the right balance to stay at, showing gratitude as well as carrying along with the new road ahead, the minor reconstruction. One historian explained this after the war attitude in a broader sense saying that “Madison was unquestionably the clearest thinker among the Founders. Even Thomas Jefferson deferred to his judgment. The practically minded Madison all but made a career of keeping his more idealistic and readily combustible mentor from ‘going over the edge.’’ Madison has truly proved the people wrong who at first doubted him and his administration. In fact many often felt bad and showed remorse for their doubt in him, making post war posters and postcards. One important aspect of his personality was his communication skills, being upfront and honest with the people he looked over during war. Most importantly the war changed the confidence of the US, and through “Madison and his optimism and patience, lifted the morale of a poorly prepared and ill-defended nation.” It prepared the country with a more suitable and well defended nation changing the scare power and ability to a stronger one by the national government expanding the troops to 10,000, which was 3 times as many 12 years earlier, a major contribution to this was the establishment of West Point Naval Academy. Becoming a stronger and more noticeable country with a victory under the belt and a better prepared military “the war did succeed in building US confidence and determination, ushering in the all-too-short Era of Good Feelings and the industrialization boom starting to take off.”

Much was gained from the War of 1812 directly after it finished, but in a way the real majority of what the country received as a result came many years after the war, causing an even greater appreciation for James Madison’s time in office.“The US being young found a sense of identity and who we want to be, laid some serious stones on the country it is today.” Much was gained not just in the few years to follow but in the future. “The war also brought economic growth. During the British blockade of U.S. ports, Americans began to develop and expand their own manufacturing capacity to replace imported goods, leading to a new age of industrialization in the young nation.” Provided with a reliable source to manufacture the US relied very little on imports and turned to more exports helping reconstruct and later gain as a result. War encouraged the heady expansionism that lay at the heart of American foreign policy for the rest of the century, familiarizing itself with the concept and the ways it would be dealt with best. Not only did the country grow bigger in regulations and through economics, but the population grew closer and more connected with saying, symbols, and songs showing pride. The most common of these symbols is Uncle Sam, a war efforts recruiter as well as a symbol of pride and happiness. To help strengthen the foot stone that laid down the country from this war four future Presidents were evolved with the effort the US gave during this time, Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, James Monroe, and William Henry Harrison. Looking way down the road and showing much improvement with relations the US “allied with Britain and Canada on World War in 20th century even though we fought against them, a sense of power.”


Overcoming what was once thought of James Madison’s decision on war, the United States advanced greatly as a whole for many years to follow setting a more concrete footprint the Founding Fathers originally planned for the nation.

Work Cited

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  9. Wikipedia contributors. ‘War of 1812.’ Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed December 10, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=War_of_1812&oldid=929601744.

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