Historians in the United States and Canada see it as a war in its own right, but the British often see it as a minor theatre of the Napoleonic Wars. By the wars end in early 1815, the key issues had been resolved, the view was shared in much of New England and for that reason the war was widely referred to there as Mr. Madison’s War. As a result, the primary British war goal was to defend their North American colonies, the war was fought in three theatres. Second, land and naval battles were fought on the U. S. –Canadian frontier, Third, large-scale battles were fought in the Southern United States and Gulf Coast. With the majority of its land and naval forces tied down in Europe fighting the Napoleonic Wars, early victories over poorly-led U. S. armies demonstrated that the conquest of the Canadas would prove more difficult than anticipated. Despite this, the U. S. was able to inflict serious defeats on Britains Native American allies, both governments were eager for a return to normality and peace negotiations began in Ghent in August 1814. This brought an Era of Good Feelings in which partisan animosity nearly vanished in the face of strengthened American nationalism, the war was also a major turning point in the development of the U. S. military, with militia being increasingly replaced by a more professional force. The U. S. also acquired permanent ownership of Spains Mobile District, the government of Canada declared a three-year commemoration of the War of 1812 in 2012, intended to offer historical lessons and celebrate 200 years of peace across the border. At the conclusion of the commemorations in 2014, a new national War of 1812 Monument was unveiled in Ottawa. The war is remembered in Britain primarily as a footnote in the much larger Napoleonic Wars occurring in Europe, historians have long debated the relative weight of the multiple reasons underlying the origins of the War of 1812. This section summarizes several contributing factors which resulted in the declaration of war by the United States, as Risjord notes, a powerful motivation for the Americans was the desire to uphold national honour in the face of what they considered to be British insults such as the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair. The approaching conflict was about violations of American rights, but it was also vindication of American identity. Americans at the time and historians since often called it the United States Second War of Independence, in 1807, Britain introduced a series of trade restrictions via a series of Orders in Council to impede neutral trade with France, with which Britain was at war. The United States contested these restrictions as illegal under international law, the American merchant marine had come close to doubling between 1802 and 1810, making it by far the largest neutral fleet. Britain was the largest trading partner, receiving 80% of U. S. cotton, the British public and press were resentful of the growing mercantile and commercial competition. The United States view was that Britains restrictions violated its right to trade with others, during the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy expanded to 176 ships of the line and 600 ships overall, requiring 140,000 sailors to man. The United States believed that British deserters had a right to become U. S. citizens and this meant that in addition to recovering naval deserters, it considered any United States citizens who were born British liable for impressment. Aggravating the situation was the reluctance of the United States to issue formal naturalization papers and it was estimated by the Admiralty that there were 11,000 naturalized sailors on United States ships in 1805
Image: War of 1812 Montage
Re-enactors in UK uniforms fire muskets toward the "Americans" in this annual commemoration of the June 6, 1813 Battle of Stoney Creek.