War of 1812 Facts

War of 1812 Facts
The War of 1812 was fought between the British Empire and the United States from 1812 to 1814 on land in North America and at sea. More than half of the British forces were made up of Canadian militia (volunteers) because British soldiers were fighting Napoleon in Europe. See the fact file below for more information about the War of 1812.
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  • The War of 1812 has often been called the Revolutionary War Part II and sometimes, “The Forgotten War”. It was another war between America and Great Britain.
  • It was caused in part by disagreements over shipping and trade on the high seas. It was also fought to decide how much influence the United States would have in foreign affairs.
  • The War of 1812 could be called the “war of poor communication.” Two days before the declaration of war, Great Britain agreed to repeal the naval laws which were chiefly responsible for the war. Speedy communication would have also eliminated the greatest battle, the Battle of New Orleans, that occurred 15 days after a peace treaty had been signed.
  • The actual fighting occurred in America and in Canada.
  • The United States was a brand new country and the leaders risked national disaster going to war with powerful Great Britain a second time. Support in the US was divided with the West and South looking for a fight, but people of the New England strongly opposed to war. As the war continued, opposition became much stronger.
  • President Thomas Jefferson wanted to keep American goods flowing overseas and, at the same time, keep America out of foreign wars.
  • Britain and France were at war with each other, as was much of the rest of Europe. Both sides thought that American ships were supplying the other with food, weapons, and other supplies. American ships were routinely stopped by both France and Britain. Each demanded to search the cargo holds. Sometimes, these situations ended in violence.
  • In 1794, the United States was worried about the war between France and Great Britain. The United States Constitution, which had been ratified just three years before, provided for the introduction of a navy. Congress passed a bill giving permission to build six navy ships. One of these was the U.S.S. Constitution.
  • The U.S.S. Constitution never lost a battle. Despite its nickname, “Old Ironsides” was a wooden ship. During the War of 1812, the Constitution sunk a large number of ships belonging to the British navy. The Constitution got its nickname, “Old Ironsides.” when a British seaman saw one of his cannon balls hit the wooden hull of the U.S.S. Constitution, bounce off, and fall into the sea. In amazement, the seaman said, “Hurrah, her sides are made of iron.”. During the War of 1812, “Old Ironside captured 24 enemy vessels.
  • The War of 1812 ended when the Treaty of Ghent was signed at the end of 1814, guaranteeing that the United States and Britain would end their battle.