The War of 1812: Ever Heard of It?

Written by: Alex the Polymath

The War of 1812 is a fascinating war, but it is rarely studied thoroughly in introductory U.S. history courses. There may be reasons for this. Perhaps, courses don’t discuss this conflict in depth because it was technically lost by the U.S.A. Even though it is often glossed over, it is an intriguing war in American history, for several reasons.

Did you know that the United States of America lost the War of 1812? Well, this claim is disputed, but I propose the British won as they were able to show their dominance over the U.S.A. Even though the Americans eventually pushed them out, the British were able to accomplish many things. The British proved they could come to America and re-claim American land. They also burned down the White House. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the British did not take the war seriously at that point (which was very lucky for the Americans). I feel that if they had taken the war as a genuine conflict between “nations,” they may have easily won.

The War of 1812 is essential in history for another reason. This war was the first time that the United States declared war. No time before this, including the Revolutionary War, had this happened. Although the U.S. has fought in many conflicts, it has only declared war a few times, and this was one of them. The War of 1812 is notable for this reason.

Many people suggest the War of 1812 is not of paramount importance because it did not have a lasting effect, and therefore, it should be deemed insignificant. I disagree with this statement. This war showed that Great Britain was not entirely “done with” interactions and disputes against the United States of America. This facet of history indicates that the British Empire was able to return to the United States of America and invade again. 

The War of 1812 was significant and had many lasting effects such as showing that Great Britain was still fairly dominant over the United States of America several decades after the Revolutionary War. However important, this war is often overlooked in lower level U.S. history courses, and I think that is a mistake: The War of 1812 is an important event in American history that should be remembered!