ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who Won the War of 1812?

Updated on December 9, 2016
Signature of the Treaty of Ghent, 1814
Signature of the Treaty of Ghent, 1814 | Source

The War of 1812: Brief Summary

Territorial and trading disputes caused the United States and Great Britain to fight the War of 1812. Each side experienced mixed success. Great Britain successfully defended Canada and assaulted Washington, D.C.--razing the White House in the process--but was unable to gain a permanent foothold in American territory. The United States successfully defended her territory against the British invasion but was unable to conquer Canada. Thus neither the United States nor Great Britain emerged as a clear victor. One could say that the true winner of the War of 1812 was Andrew Jackson, whose victory at the Battle of New Orleans would later catapult him to the presidency.

What Caused the War of 1812?

Neither the United States nor Great Britain was completely happy with the results of the American Revolution. Obviously, many British leaders were upset an upstart group of colonies had defied the world's greatest empire, and the British people began to clamor for the empire to retake "her colonies." The Americans were ecstatic that they won their hard-fought independence, but they too had regrets. Specifically, they wished they had been able to conquer Canada and incorporate it into the United States; this would both expand American territory and prevent the British from retaining land they could later use as a base to invade the United States.

Causes of the War of 1812

United States
Great Britain
Wanted to expand territory into Canada
Wanted to return the United States to colonial status
Claimed Britain violated her maritime rights by capturing France-bound ships and forcing American sailors to sail for Great Britain.
Wanted to restrict trade between the United States and France.

Lingering regrets from the American Revolution were intensified by a naval trading dispute. The United States and France had formed a friendship during the American Revolution. However, France and Great Britain were bitter enemies. The British sought to hurt France by preventing the United States and other neutral nations from trading with the French. They went so far as to capture American ships bound for France and force the American sailors to work on British naval vessels.

President James Madison ignited the War of 1812 when he signed a formal declaration of war on June 18, 1812.
President James Madison ignited the War of 1812 when he signed a formal declaration of war on June 18, 1812. | Source

President Madison Declares War

The Americans grew enraged at Great Britain, asserting that the British had violated the United States' rights as a neutral nation. However, the United States government was divided over whether not these incidents justified a declaration of war. Eventually, the Congressional "War Hawks" won out, and President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812.

The Americans wasted no time before attempting an invasion of Canada, which they believed they would easily conquer. Unfortunately for them, Sir Isaac Brock and his army repelled the American attack--a humiliating blow to American nationalist dreams of territorial expansion. The United States would spend the remainder of the war on defense.

The British strategy relied on a successful invasion of the Chesapeake Bay. They successfully invaded in 1814, and on August 24, 1814, the British captured Washington D.C. and burned the White House and United States Capitol. This feat humiliated the Americans, who gathered at Fort McHenry in Baltimore to face the next leg of the British assault.

The British burn the United States Capitol.
The British burn the United States Capitol. | Source

The British attacked Fort McHenry for more than 25 consecutive hours. However, the American defenses held, and the British were forced to leave the Chesapeake Bay and regroup for an attack at New Orleans. The defense of Baltimore served as Francis Scott Key's inspiration for American's future national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The Treaty of Ghent

The War of 1812 would come to a close soon after the assault on Fort McHenry, although the fighting would continue for a bit longer. On December 24, 1814, the United States and Great Britain agreed to the Treaty of Ghent, which essentially restored British-American relations to their prewar status. No clear winner emerged from the settlement. However, the Americans took pride in the fact that they had once again successfully defended their country against invasion by the world's greatest imperial power and hoped this would gain them respect on the international stage.

Were it not for the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson would likely have never become president of the United States.
Were it not for the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson would likely have never become president of the United States. | Source

The True Winner of the War of 1812: Andrew Jackson

News traveled slowly in the early 19th century, so when British forces attacked New Orleans in early January, they were unaware that the two nations had signed the Treaty of Ghent. Andrew Jackson led the American forces to a morale-boosting victory, and--as the last major conflict of the war--this battle allowed the Americans to leave the war with the taste of victory in their mouths.

Jackson gained national acclaim for this victory, and he became an immensely popular politician. This widespread popularity propelled him to the presidency (1829-1837) as the founder of the Democratic party. His ascension to this post served as the first true populist movement in United States history.

This PBS War of 1812 Documentary Provides an In-Depth Look at the War


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)