Several causes led up to the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain which lasted from 1812 until 1815.
England also tried to prevent U.S. farmers from trading with French forces which dealt a crippling blow to the economy of the young nation. Additionally, British soldiers continued to occupy territory belonging to the U.S., despite Great Britain’s promise to remove these soldiers in the Treaty of Paris (1783). Most of the British soldiers were located along the Great Lakes, providing Indians, including the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, with support in their struggle against American settlers. In 1812, President James Madison asked the United States Congress to declare war.In the summer of 1812, a poorly planned campaign by U.S. forces to invade Canada, ended with an American defeat and withdrawal. However, Americans were buoyed by the success of U.S. naval victories which contributed to the re-election of President James Madison. Britain responded by establishing a blockade along the east coast of the U.S. (south of New York City) which greatly impaired trade.
In the final months of the war, British soldiers burned down farms, towns and buildings, while overwhelming the smaller American naval and militia forces. The American defeat at the Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 enabled the British to move on to Washington, burning many government buildings including the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress and the White House. President Monroe, his famil and the Cabinet fled the city.
Despite these actions, and after a major land and sea defense of Baltimore in September 1814, the British were forced to withdraw from the Chesapeake region. It was these events that inspired a young Francis Scott Key to pen a poem that would eventually become our National Anthem - one of the more enduring stories of the War of 1812.
At the same time that U.S. forces were defending Baltimore, the British fleet in Lake Champlain was destroyed, forcing them to retreat into
Soon after, the British were forced to agree to a peace treaty, known as the Treaty of Ghent. In January 1815, not being awarethat the Treaty to end the conflict had already been signed the previous month, the British decisively lost the Battle of New Orleans commanded on the U.S. side by future president, Andrew Jackson. Thus came to an end our second war for independence, often referred to as “the Forgotten War”.
Excerpts of this history were taken from: