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The War of 1812

The War of 1812: A Short History

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    The War of 1812
    Book Description:

    This abridged edition of Donald R. Hickey's comprehensive and authoritative The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict has been thoroughly revised for the 200th anniversary of the historic conflict. A myth-shattering study that will inform and entertain students and general readers alike, The War of 1812: A Short History explores the military, diplomatic, and domestic history of our second war with Great Britain, bringing the study up to date with recent scholarship on all aspects of the war, from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada._x000B__x000B_With new information on military operations, logistics, and the use and capabilities of weaponry, The War of 1812: A Short History explains how the war promoted American nationalism, reinforced the notion of manifest destiny, stimulated peacetime defense spending, and enhanced America's reputation abroad. Hickey also concludes that the war sparked bloody conflicts between pro-war Republican and anti-war Federalist neighbors, dealt a crippling blow to the independence and treaty rights of American Indians, and solidified the United States' antipathy toward the British. Ideal for students and history buffs, this special edition includes selected illustrations, maps, a chronology of major events during the war, and a list of suggested further reading._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09447-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface to Bicentennial Edition
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface to First Edition
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    The War of 1812 is probably our most obscure major war. It lacks the grand scope and significance of the Revolution, the Civil War, and the world wars, and it is buried too deep in the past to compete in the public memory with the wars in Korea or Vietnam or our more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Indian wars in the nineteenth century are better known, and the same may also be true for our wars of domestic and overseas expansion—the Mexican War (1846–1848) and the Spanish-American War (1898).

    The average American is only vaguely...

  6. Chapter 1 The Coming of the War, 1801–1812
    (pp. 5-18)

    On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson walked from his boardinghouse in Washington City, as the nation’s new capital was then called, to the Capitol Building, where he was inaugurated as third president of the United States. The ceremony was short and Spartan. The nation’s new leaders favored a simpler and more democratic style than their Federalist predecessors. They also planned to adopt a new set of policies. It was these policies—initiated by Jefferson and carried on by his friend and successor, James Madison—that put the United States on a collision course with Great Britain and ultimately led to...

  7. Chapter 2 The Campaign of 1812
    (pp. 19-39)

    On December 16, 1811, after the debate on the war preparations had been under way for more than two weeks, John Randolph, an anti-war Republican, raised a specter that was to haunt contemporaries and historians alike. “Agrarian cupidity,” he said, “not maritime right, urges the war. Ever since the report of the Committee on Foreign Relations came into the House, we have heard but one word—like the whip-poor-will, but one eternal monotonous tone—Canada! Canada! Canada!” Randolph exaggerated, since at no time during the debates did territorial expansion overshadow the maritime issues. Although territorial expansionism was a potent force...

  8. Chapter 3 The Campaign of 1813
    (pp. 40-59)

    When the spring thaw opened the campaigning season in 1813, the United States was better able to wage war than it had been in 1812. Two cabinet changes helped. John Armstrong had replaced William Eustis as secretary of war, and William Jones had succeeded Paul Hamilton as secretary of the navy. Although Armstrong was an intriguer who was disliked by everyone else in the cabinet, he was a decided improvement over Eustis, and Jones proved to be a first-class administrator who not only managed the nation’s limited naval resources efficiently but also handled the prickly personalities in the naval officer...

  9. Chapter 4 The British Counteroffensive, 1814–1815
    (pp. 60-86)

    By the time the campaigning season opened in 1814, the initiative in the war had shifted to the British. The Battle of Leipzig the previous October had forced Napoleon to retreat to France, with the Allies in pursuit. On March 31, the Allies entered Paris. Napoleon abdicated unconditionally on April 11 and shortly thereafter was exiled to the Mediterranean island of Elba. For the first time in more than a decade, Europe was at peace.

    Federalists celebrated the defeat of Napoleon, and some Republicans joined them. “I rejoice with you,” Jefferson told a friend, “in the downfall of Bonaparte.


  10. Chapter 5 The Inner War
    (pp. 87-102)

    The War of 1812 had seven major theaters of operation in North America: (1) the Detroit frontier, (2) the Niagara frontier, (3) the St. Lawrence front, (4) the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River front, (5) the Chesapeake, (6) the Southwest (seat of the Creek War), and (7) the Gulf Coast. There was an eighth front on the high seas. For Americans, another front also loomed large. This was the home front, where people debated the merits of the war, argued over policy and strategy, and maneuvered for preference or advantage.

    The nation’s internal differences went far beyond the norm and had an...

  11. Chapter 6 The Peace of Christmas Eve
    (pp. 103-114)

    On the battlefield, the record of the United States during the War of 1812 was mixed. There were some shining moments—the naval victories on the northern lakes and the high seas, the success in the West at the Thames and Horseshoe Bend, the Army’s fine showing at Chippawa, Lundy’s Lane, and Fort Erie on the Niagara, the defense of Fort McHenry in the Chesapeake, and Jackson’s great victory at New Orleans. But there were also plenty of defeats and failures. The nation never conquered Canada, it was unable to defend against British depredations on the Atlantic Coast, and it...

  12. Legacies
    (pp. 115-122)

    The War of 1812 is often called “America’s second war of independence,” but this overstates what was at stake. Although the issues and ideology echoed those of the Revolution, American independence was never truly at risk. The threat existed mainly in the minds of thin-skinned Republicans who were unable to shed the ideological legacy of the Revolution and interpreted all British actions through this lens.

    There is no denying that British encroachments on America rights in this era were both real and serious. But throughout this period Britain’s focus was on Europe. Her overriding objective was to defeat Napoleonic France...

  13. Chronology
    (pp. 123-132)
  14. Suggestions for Further Reading
    (pp. 133-134)
  15. Index
    (pp. 135-144)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 145-149)