The War of 1812: American Independence Confirmed

NPS  The Unfinished Revolution

The American leaders who declared war on Great Britain in 1812 firmly believed that they were beginning a second war of independence. Although the United States failed to achieve any of its stated war aims, the War of 1812 confirmed American nationhood and secured a new respect for the infant republic among the powers of Europe.

The signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 ended the Revolutionary War and established the United States among the nations of the world. The treaty, however, neither guaranteed the new nation’s survival nor ensured that the powers of Europe would respect its rights. In upholding its rights to trade freely with all of the world’s countries, the United States government struggled to find a balance between military preparedness and diplomacy. The prolonged wars between Britain and France (1793-1815), kicked off by the French Revolution, greatly complicated America’s ability to protect the rights of its shipping and sailors. Additionally, many Americans along the nation’s western frontier believed that the British in Canada encouraged Indian raids on their settlements.

Attacks by the French on American shipping led to an undeclared naval war from 1798 to 1801, known as the Quasi-War. When war between Britain and France started up again in 1803, Britain forbade neutrals, including the United States, from trading with France and her allies. Many Americans believed Britain’s measures were an attempt to re-impose colonial status on them. Desperate for sailors to man their warships, British captains increasingly boarded American ships and “impressed” sailors into service, claiming that the merchant seamen were deserters from the Royal Navy. America’s efforts to preserve its neutral rights by stopping all trade with the warring powers had no effect, other than to hurt the U.S. economy. On June 18, 1812, after two decades of watching its rights violated, the United States defiantly declared war on Britain. President James Madison’s war message to Congress echoed the language of the Declaration of Independence

In military terms, the War of 1812 was inconclusive. The U.S. achieved some notable victories: on Lake Erie (commemorated at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial), at Fort McHenry (commemorated at Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine), and in the Battle of New Orleans (commemorated at Chalmette Battlefield, part of Jean Lafitte National Historic Park & Preserve). But the war also saw Washington occupied and the White House set on fire. Two American invasions of Canada failed. The 1814 Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war, merely affirmed the situation prevailing before the war began (the status quo antebellum). The treaty was silent on the issues of commercial rights that had led to war. When war between Britain and France ended in 1815, so did British interference with American shipping.

The most notable result of the War of 1812 was an upsurge in American nationalism. At the war’s conclusion a French diplomat commented that “the war has given the Americans what they so essentially lacked, a national character.” The three-year conflict also resulted in increased funding of the peacetime military, better coastal defenses, a more secure western frontier, and a final confirmation of the Revolution’s outcome. The power of the Indian nations of the Old Northwest and Old Southwest was decisively broken, opening the way for white settlement across a broad front. Never again would European powers have significant influence with American tribes. The war also produced a new national symbol, The Star-Spangled Banner, which Congress made our national anthem in 1931. Most importantly, America’s independence and status in the world were reaffirmed, never again to be seriously challenged.

7 thoughts on “The War of 1812: American Independence Confirmed

  1. To The Admin &/or Mr Henry Shivley,

    Allow me to thank you for this article on one of the most pivitol moments in American history.

    I don’t know if you (Admin of, From The Trenches &/or Mr Shivley) have posted this article in response to my request to do so (see FTTWR Article: “Arizona Initiative would let voters overrule federal law”), but its timing is fortuitous and fortunate for us readers.

    Although my degrees are in the Engineering & finance fields,.. I spend a great deal of time researching and learning history on my own, and have always been that way.

    However, even with that level of zeal for history,.. I always find that no matter how well versed I am about a particular event or time in history, there is always something more to learn about it.

    The War Of 1812, although heard of by many, is poorly understood by most for its causes, and importance to American history, including me,… so I do whole heartedly thank “From The Trenches”, and Mr. Shivley (if he had any part in this) for illuminating this critical event of our history, and giving all us another degree of insight into era.

    The one fault, or oversight I find with this article, is the relationship between the 2nd Bank Of America’s Charter expiring and being refused renewal, and the ensuing War Of 1812 is not dicussed.

    The realty is, the historically stated reason for The War 1812, were in fact minor in scope and frequency. The real drivers were more simple, and mundane,… greed, corruption, and control of America thru its banking system,… then,.. as now, and the the unseen villians,… then,.. as now,… is the Banking Cartel, The Rothchilds and politicians that stood to benefit from war (..sound familiar…)

    I hope readers realize how our country, being a soverign nation at that time, was in fact being wholly debased and corrupted thru the monetary system, then,… as now.

    There are lessons to be learned here so we do not make the most terrible of all mistakes, as embodied in the simple phrase:

    “Those that forget history,… are condemned to repeat it”.

    A heart felt thank you again to the writers/editors/contributors of From The Trenches for this piece, and for the clear and unshakable support for America, Americans, The US Constitution, our Liberties, Freedoms ,… and basic Rights Of All Human Beings.

    I hope that the author of this article willing to write an addendum discussing the relationship between the Bank Of England, The London Bank, The Rothchilds and the refusal of the American Gov’t to renew the 2nd Bank Of America’s Charter as the true Casus Belli for the War Of 1812.

    These are almost the same issues we face today.

    JD – US Marines – 3rd War Of Independence Patriot

    1. Per your request we put up the article. It came from the National Parks Service. You will find the link at the top of the article.
      We are very aware of the bank connection.
      Mark Koernke of the Intelligence Report on which airs Monday through Friday 5, 6, and 8 pm Eastern time, has and does speak quite often of the War of 1812 when making the point that it was our 2nd Revolution.

    2. We, old timers of The Trenches, are aware, JD. In fact, the subject has been brought up a few times through the years that this site has been in existence. (Give us all a little credit.) You’re not alone. 🙂
      Good to repeat for the new comers though.

      1. To Mr. Shivley and Angel-NYC,

        My apologies if you were offended,.. none was intended, I can assure you.

        I merely was trying to point out what I saw as an ommission of note, and felt it should at least be mentioned.

        My comments were not meant to ascertain any rational as to why it may have been overlooked or not mentioned.

        Although understanding history is important to me,.. my greatest area of study tends to be Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome,.. especially the Marius, Sulla – Julius Caesar Era. The span of Roman history when Rome went from a Constitutional Republic,.. to a Dictatorial Empire,… much as is occuring right here,.. right now.

        Contemporary history is a weak point for me, and appreciate any insight you provide, especially for American history concerning the 1st, or in this case 2nd Revolution (The War Of 1812) given the growing prospects of another one about to be undertaken, which may well be looked back on as our, “3rd Revolution Of Independence”.

        In closing,.. I do not know the extent of your (From The Trenches) history as I have just recently discovered it,.. but am already very fond your site and strongly suggest your site to as many people as I can.

        You Patriots are doing a phenomenal job, which may help make my job a little easier when its time for True Americans, Patriots, and us Marines to once again,.. fight to save our country

        God Bless you Patriots at, From The Trenches.

        JD – US Marine – Defender Of Our Constitution

        1. No offense taken on my part. I’ve always had a love of history, as well. It constantly amazes me that Mankind never seems to learn and keeps repeating it.

  2. The War of 1812 sounded a lot like a false war by the British to get the U.S. into another war so the British can reaffirm their control over the U.S., while using the French Revolution as an excuse to keep it going.

    Just like the U.S. saying, “Hey, while we are at war with Syria in the Middle East, how about we go after Iran and Lebanon, too even though they had nothing to do with 9/11.” Same thing happened with Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, etc.

    Gotta keep the military industry and banker control going.

  3. “Desperate for sailors to man their warships, British captains increasingly boarded American ships and “impressed” sailors into service, claiming that the merchant seamen were deserters from the Royal Navy.”

    Sounds like the U.S. trying to use, pay and promote the Free Syrian Army to rebel against their own government when the real Syrian people don’t want to. Same thing happened in Libya. Amazing how some tactics never change over the years.

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