The War of 1812 is probably essays on the american revolution most obscure conflict. Although a great deal has been written about the war, the average American is only vaguely aware of why we fought or who the enemy was. Why is this war so obscure? One reason is that no great president is associated with the conflict.
Although his enemies called it “Mr. Madison’s War,” James Madison was shy and deferential, hardly measuring up to such war leaders as Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, or Franklin Roosevelt. Another reason for the obscurity of this war is that its causes are complex and little understood today. Most scholars agree that the war was fought over maritime issues, particularly the Orders in Council, which restricted American trade with the European Continent, and impressment, which was the Royal Navy’s practice of removing seamen from American merchant vessels. In contemporary parlance, the war was fought for “Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights. The United States has won most of its wars, often emerging with significant concessions from the enemy.
But the War of 1812 was different. Far from bringing the enemy to terms, the nation was lucky to escape without making extensive concessions itself. The prosecution of the war was marred by considerable bungling and mismanagement. This was partly due to the nature of the republic. Federalists vigorously opposed the conflict, and so too did some Republicans. Despite the bungling and half-hearted support that characterized this conflict, the War of 1812 was not without its stirring moments and splendid victories. The war also gave a significant boost to the political or military careers of other men.
In some ways, the War of 1812 looked more to the past than to the future. As America’s second and last war against Great Britain, it echoed the ideology and issues of the American Revolution. It was the second and last time that America was the underdog in a war and the second and last time that the nation tried to conquer Canada. It was also the last time that Indians played a major role in determining the future of the continent. It is this lack of success that may best explain why the war is so little remembered.
Americans have characteristically judged their wars on the basis of their success. Although many people remembered the War of 1812 as a success, it was in a very real sense a failure, and perhaps this is why it attracts so little attention today. The obscurity of this war, however, should not blind us to its significance, for it was an important turning point, a great watershed, in the history of the young republic. It concluded almost a quarter of a century of troubled diplomacy and partisan politics and ushered in the Era of Good Feelings. It marked the end of the Federalist party but the vindication of Federalist policies, many of which were adopted by Republicans during or after the war. Hickey is a professor of history at Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict.
Crispus Attucks Crispus Attucks, one of the first men to die for American Revolution, was a fugitive slave who had escaped from his master and had worked for twenty years as a merchant seaman. Crispus Attucks was the first to fall in the celebrated “Boston Massacre” of 1770. Four other Americans died that night from the action. Samuel Adams used the incident to incite the colonists to further rebellion. Although only five people were killed, Adams termed it a “massacre” of innocent citizens by the tyrannical mother country. Writers who omit Crispus Attucks’ name from the accounts of the American revolution might as well dismiss the “Boston Massacre” as an irrelevant incident in the struggle for American independence.
His sacrifice without doubt puts him in the same category of such prominent African American heroes as Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. For my essay on Cuban-American relations, click here. Ouverture organizes a slave revolt to take over Hispaniola. Some of the French landowners fled to Cuba, creating more plantations with subsequent increased demand for slaves.