The War of 1812 is often referred to as the second American Revolution. I, personally, disagree with this statement. To thoroughly explain my reasoning behind my opinion, we must first take a look at the original American Revolution. First and foremost, the main cause of the American Revolution was the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment “embraced the notion that humanity could be improved through rational change” (PIIP, U.3) and laid the foundation for the American Revolution. Both men and women began to change their thoughts about the plain lives that they were living. John Locke, a huge contributor to the Enlightenment movement, argued that “if you don’t trust your government, you have the right to overthrow your government” (PIIP U.3). The colonists read this and took John Locke for his word. The American Revolution was fought for a reason, freedom. They wanted to be able to govern themselves and live the lives that they had envisioned. The colonists gained something beneficial from the American Revolution.
As far as the War of 1812, nothing was gained. Nothing. The War of 1812 is not the second American Revolution because it was just a tantrum thrown by the U.S. A tantrum thrown because our original efforts to hurt Britain and France did not work. The British took our stomping and screaming and aggressive arm-folding with less than a grain of salt. Many will say the Orders in Council is what started the war but how could that be possible when “the Orders in Council were rescinded before the actual War of 1812” (Green, U.4). Then the British continued to treat us as their little brother and toyed with us until they were finished fighting the French. After the war ended, “the Treaty of Ghent showed just how necessary this war was: not at all” (Green, U.4). “No territory changed hands” (Green, U.4), the people did not gain any new liberties, it did not lift the Orders in Council because those were lifted before the war had even begun (Green, U.4). The true American Revolution was fueled by inspiration and passion, not grudges. That is why, in my mental history book, the War of 1812 will forever and always be considered the War of 1812. Nothing more, nothing less.