The United States had won its independence, but that freedom seemed quite fleeting. Barely a generation after being free, the War of 1812 with Great Britain threatened to take back everything that had been so bravely won. In the end, the war was considered a draw, but the US won a lot of global respect for standing up to the redcoats once more.
1. $1.2 Million Reasons
About 3,000 slaves from the US escaped to join British forces or to fight against their former owners. The British eventually settled most of the escaped slaves in Nova Scotia. Others escaped during the chaos of the battles that took place on the American continent. At the end of the war, Great Britain agreed to pay $1.2 million to compensate slave owners for their losses.
2. Equality From an Unusual Place
Andrew Jackson served as a general during the War of 1812 and his perspective was quite unique for his day. He believed that people of any skin color could live and serve as Americans. He even formed a full battalion of black soldiers that were freemen and paid them the same amount that he paid his white soldiers.
3. Trickery From France
It was the US that declared war on Great Britain to begin the War of 1812. Napoleon believed that if Great Britain’s forces were divided between France and the US that they would become vulnerable. Therefore he made the US believe that French blockades on American shipping would stop if they joined the war. It didn’t. The US declared war because of the restrictions in shipping Great Britain has placed on them, but that had actually been lifted before the US declared war.
4. The Canadian Invasion
The US figured that the best way to attack Great Britain would be to attack Canada. After all, it was a lot closer than an ocean away. The only problem was that the Canadians didn’t really appreciate the effort. Instead of seeing the Americans as liberators, they saw them as invaders and promptly repelled them.
The “Defense of Fort McHenry” would eventually become the “Star Spangled Banner” and would unite a nation. Interestingly enough, the melody for the American national anthem comes from a London men’s social club. The War of 1812 helped to define the US as a nation and although it’s a side-note of history for many, it was an important stepping stone to a global stage.