The War That Gets No Respect
When it comes to the War of 1812, the ignorance depicted in the above video is no exaggeration. Of all our major conflicts, our Second War For Independence is the most obscure to the general public. In this bicentennial year of the beginning of the War, I will do my small bit on the blog Almost Chosen People , the American history blog that Paul Zummo and I run, to help correct this situation. The War of 1812 was an important struggle in American history for a number of reasons, a few of which are:
1. Until the War of 1812 the British tended to treat the United States as if it were a wayward colony that would ultimately become part of the British Empire again. After the War the British understood that we were an independent power and a permanent factor in their calculations.
2. The War established the United States Navy as an aggressive and resourceful combat force, unafraid to pit daring and skill against the massively more powerful Royal Navy.
3. The War ended American dreams of conquering Canada.
4. As a result of the War, the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi could no longer provide serious resistance to American expansion into the Northwest and the Southwest.
5. The Star-Spangled Banner symbolized the new surge of nationalism that the country experienced as a result of the War.
6. The War made Andrew Jackson a national hero and set him on his path to the White House, with ramifications still playing out today.
7. Opposition to the War effectively destroyed the remnants of the Federalist party.
8. The War solidified American control over New Orleans, and helped bring a wave of American settlement into Louisiana.
9. Winfield Scott, the man who would lead American forces to victory in Mexico, and devised the blueprint for Union victory in the Civil War, first rose to the rank of General in the War.
10. The War gave a strong impetus to the development of domestic industries to supply the military.
It is very difficult to understand American history in the crucial decades leading up to the Mexican and Civil Wars without understanding the almost forgotten, in the mind of the public, War of 1812.