The War of 1812 was the second war in 30 years that the young American Nation fought against Britain. However, even though the outcome was merely more than a stalemate, it helped solidify America’s political and economic sovereignty and shape America’s identity. The War of 1812 was also a war between many nations, Great Britain, Canada, Spain, France, and dozens of Native nations, all whom had a strong interest in America land. (National Park Service, 2013) The consequences of the War of 1812 left a legacy on the American Nation as it secured its position against other nations and paved the road for future American growth.
As a result of the war, The United States gained international power and international and world trade and commerce began to grow. Before the war, Britain disrespected American maritime rights, as it interfered with American trade and illegally imprisoned seamen of American ships. Further more, during the War of 1812, many Native Americans sided with Great Britain in hopes of preserving their own land. However, American troops defeated Tecumseh and his confederation which secured the Great Lakes region and the Midwest territories. The conflict of war put an end to the remaining Indian confederations east of the Mississippi and now made westward expansion in America possible. Lastly, America struggled to control the influences of the British, French and Indians on the American frontier. After the war, President James Monroe felt confident enough to issue the Monroe Doctrine opposing any European efforts to colonize North or South America which secured America’s position amongst other nations. (Weinstein, 2012)
American patriotism grew after the War of 1812, so much so, that the years that followed are often referred to as the “Era of Good Feelings.” (Weinstein, 2012) The nation was united and national pride was fostered by the naval victories over the British fleet that was superior to that of America’s. Americans were also outraged with burning the White House and Capitol which tightened those bonds of patriotism. It was during the War of 1812, while watching the British warships bomb the Chesapeake Bay Fort, that Francis Scott Key wrote his famous poem, Defense of Fort McHenry, which later became our Nation’s National Anthem.
Americans who once thought of themselves as individual colonies now began to see themselves as The United States of America. (Weinstein, 2012) There was rapid growth in the American economy after the War of 1812. American’s newfound patriotism created a desire to create more domestic products. Imported products were replaced with American made ones. Prior to the war, industries were just getting started. The war was over and soldiers could now return to the labor force. There was also an agricultural boost with the increased demand for cotton and tobacco. There was no longer a scarcity of goods and American’s standards of living drastically increased. (Ugulini) The War of 1812 if often referred to as the “Forgotten War” as no one really one or loss. (Banner, 2012)
However, for America, there was great victory. The War of 1812 helped pave the way to a new way of life in America as Nationalism emerged. The war opened America’s Westward Expansion with the decreased threat of Native American Confederations. It fostered economic growth with domestic products and goods. And perhaps most importantly, It established the United States as an International power.
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