The Second War for Independence

In the early 19th Century Britain was dealing with a large problem, Napoleon. The Napoleonic Wars were pretty much a war between France and the rest of Europe. Although the United States were enemies of the British, they hated the French a lot more. Although the war was a large part of the early 19th century for the United States, when the British look back they think “remember the Napoleonic wars, not the War of 1812.” [1]

American aggression towards Britain started when the British began to capture American ships and force the sailors to fight the French in their war. As the war continued, the British “sought to defend Canada, without compromising its war with Napoleonic France.” [1]

Lt. Gen Prevost [2]
British troops were led by Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost. Although he was successful in defending Canada from the Americans, he was unsuccessful in his attempts to invade the United States in two occasions: Sacket’s Harbor Naval Base in 1813, and The Battle Of Plattsburgh in 1814 [2]. In the end, his defensive tactics were successful, even though they were met with backlash from the troops and citizens.

As stated earlier, the war started when the British began recruiting American sailors against their own will to join the Royal Navy. This act pretty much ignored the sovereignty that America fought for 30 years prior and seemed to piss off a lot of Americans.  The British knew that what they were doing was wrong, so they tried to make alliances with Native American tribes in order to help Canada in the impending war. They were even accused of “arming warriors to attack American settlements.” [3]

During the war, Quebec City was an important location for the United States to Capture in order to defeat the British. This city was heavily fortified and was key to British access to all of Canada. Also important, Halifax NS was the “essential base of operations for the Royal Navy in North American waters.” [4]

The Treaty of Ghent [5]
The War of 1812 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. Signed in Ghent, which is what we now know as Belgium, it was observed by the Belgians, British, and Americans on Christmas Eve 1814. It “restored the pre-war boundaries in North American and normalized relations between Great Britain and the United States.” [5]


The Fortune of War [6]
For further reading into British popular culture during the war, the book entitled “The Fortune of War” by Patrick O’Brien is a great read.










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