For many Americans, the War of 1812 remains an enigma, and for no small reason. Unlike the Revolution before, and the Civil War following, it wasn’t about independence or freedom. Instead, “Mr. Madison’s War” was all about special interests.
New England remained staunchly neutral–after all, they were making a fortune supplying England in its war with Napoleon. The Manifest Destiny crowd, however, saw it as a way of grabbing Florida and Canada. Congress said it was about freedom of the high seas. Whatever individual Americans might have thought (and there was plenty of dissent), the war began in 1812, and lasted until 1814.
(Click image to enlarge: The fall of Washington–or Maddy in full flight, from the Library of Congress)
Was your ancestor one of the many who served in the army, navy or marines during this conflict? If so, you might be interested in these sites:
- Veterans of the War of 1812, listed in the 1903 membership, Pennsylvania Society of the War of 1812
- The Ohio Historical Society War of 1812 Roster of Ohio Soldiers
- Database of Illinois War of 1812 Veterans
- National Archives Resources, War of 1812
- Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps in the War of 1812 Commissioned and warrant officers of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps