1.3 min readBy Published On: June 29th, 2012Categories: Features3 Comments on The War of 1812

Happy 200th Birthday War of 1812!  

With the War of 1812 popping up everywhere in connection with the celebration of Harborfest, the Tall Ships, navy week and the Fourth of July, it made us ask, “What the hell was the War of 1812 all about?”   NIne out of ten people we asked had no idea what the War of 1812 which made us feel a little less dumb but shed light on the fact that a history lesson was needed.  So here it is!  


The War of 1812 – just the facts:

  • Considered the second war of independence from Great Britain
  • The US gained great navel power in the world from this war
  • Causes of the war included Causes of the war included British attempts to restrict U.S. trade, the Royal Navy’s impressment of American seamen and America’s desire to expand its territory
  • The nation’s capital Washington D.C. was captured and the White House burned to the ground in August of 1814
  • James Madison was president during the War of 1812
  • Our enemies were Great Britain, Canada and Native Americans
  • Heroes included generals Andrew Jackson, Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott

So let’s hear it hear for the USA and not letting England get their greedy mitts on our new country.  Suddenly the 1812 Overture makes sense!  Happy Birthday!


Oil on canvas, 46″ x 64″, attributed to Thomas Birch (1779-1851). It depicts Constitution standing off the dismasted British frigate’s bow, as the latter strikes her flag in surrender.

Painting in the collections of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum. Bequest of Mrs. Walter Jennings, 1949.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph.


  1. Kevin Conroy July 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    As you stated, it’s considered the second War of Independence.  What wasn’t mentioned was the failed US attempt in invading Canada.  There was a mistaken belief at the time that there was no sentiment for alignment with Britain in Canada.  Bad move.

    As far as the 1812 Overture goes,it has nothing to do with the war here in North America.  This musical work was composed by Tchaikovsky, to commemorate the Russian defeat of Napoleon.

    There is a passage in this work where you can hear excerpts of Les Marseilles, the French National Anthem.  With that passage is sounds of ‘swirilling’ snow.  this signifies Napoleon’s retreat from the gate of Moscow and his  disastrous retreat out of Russia.  Somehow, this work has taken on an American theme.  I guess whatever works!  Happy 4th!

  2. Robert Allison July 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    You left out some heroes–Oliver Hazard Perry (there is a school in South Boston named for him), Stephen Decatur–also some notable failures–what New England attempting to secede?  

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