Was the War of 1812 really a "Second War of Indpendence?"

Apr 2018
14
United States
Was the War of 1812 really about the United States resisting an attempt by the British to reconquer it? In all of my studies of the War of 1812, I have never seen such a thing to be true. In fact, one might call it an outright lie. So far, I know of three main things over which the War of 1812 was fought:

1. Americans thought the British were secretly arming Native Americans and inciting Native Americans to violence against whites.
2. Americans accused the British of stopping American naval vessels and illegally impressing American sailors into the Royal Navy.
3. The United States wanted to invade and annex British North America (Canada) and Spanish Florida.

None of these reasons have anything to with the British trying to reconquer the US or the US trying to preserve its independence.
 

Pedro

Forum Staff
Mar 2008
17,151
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
That´s the way I see it.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,586
Dispargum
I think the moniker "Second War of Independence" is based more superficial similarities between the two wars.

In both wars the US invaded Canada
In both wars there was fighting on Lake Champlain, including Fort Ticonderoga
In both wars the British encouraged Indians to attack the US
In both wars there were famous naval battles on the Atlantic (John Paul Jones)
In both wars the British used their naval superiority to land attacking armies on the US Atlantic seaboard (Washington DC, the aborted attack on Baltimore, New Orleans)
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,861
Stockport Cheshire UK
From my biased British viewpoint the only reason I can see that Americans call it a "Second War Of Independence" is because it's the only way they can justify claiming they won it.
" The British didn't retake our country so we won ". :zany:
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,010
Iowa USA
From my biased British viewpoint the only reason I can see that Americans call it a "Second War Of Independence" is because it's the only way they can justify claiming they won it.
" The British didn't retake our country so we won ". :zany:
Oh, you are the most unbiased person I know on this topic! hehehe
 

Jax Historian

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
4,379
Here
Was the War of 1812 really about the United States resisting an attempt by the British to reconquer it? In all of my studies of the War of 1812, I have never seen such a thing to be true. In fact, one might call it an outright lie. So far, I know of three main things over which the War of 1812 was fought:

1. Americans thought the British were secretly arming Native Americans and inciting Native Americans to violence against whites.
2. Americans accused the British of stopping American naval vessels and illegally impressing American sailors into the Royal Navy.
3. The United States wanted to invade and annex British North America (Canada) and Spanish Florida.

None of these reasons have anything to with the British trying to reconquer the US or the US trying to preserve its independence.
The idea that the War of 1812 was a "war of independence" comes from the "war hawks" of the period (those, like John C. Calhoun) that pushed for the war to happen. The idea was that by capturing U.S. citizens, Great Britain was threatening U.S. independence in a philosophical sense. I never heard anyone say that calling it a war of independence was about Great Britain trying to "reconquer" the U.S. If someone told you that, stop listening to them because they are ignorant.
 

SirOrmondeWinter

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,556
The idea that the War of 1812 was a "war of independence" comes from the "war hawks" of the period (those, like John C. Calhoun) that pushed for the war to happen. The idea was that by capturing U.S. citizens, Great Britain was threatening U.S. independence in a philosophical sense. I never heard anyone say that calling it a war of independence was about Great Britain trying to "reconquer" the U.S. If someone told you that, stop listening to them because they are ignorant.
Seconded.
 

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,708
Eastern PA
I Googled "American Second War of Independence" and was shocked at the results, with almost 11 million hits. Many of the (few that I looked at) hits have the term qualified along the lines of "many in the United States celebrated the War of 1812 as a “second war of independence,”. But many do not! Often the URL is from a site that has an official and/or important looking name.

Even though I may have stumbled across the term a few times, I have no recollection of those occasions. Nor do I consider the conflict as anything more than a half-hearted effort by both nations predicated on relatively minor issues. The native Americans probably had the largest dog in the fight and they, as usual, receive short shrift in almost every account.

The natives were the sole losers in the war.
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,010
Iowa USA
I Googled "American Second War of Independence" and was shocked at the results, with almost 11 million hits. Many of the (few that I looked at) hits have the term qualified along the lines of "many in the United States celebrated the War of 1812 as a “second war of independence,”. But many do not! Often the URL is from a site that has an official and/or important looking name.

Even though I may have stumbled across the term a few times, I have no recollection of those occasions. Nor do I consider the conflict as anything more than a half-hearted effort by both nations predicated on relatively minor issues. The native Americans probably had the largest dog in the fight and they, as usual, receive short shrift in almost every account.

The natives were the sole losers in the war.
Thanks for that contribution, Edratman.

While the Federalist Party wasn't one of the armed participants in the War of 1812, the party was effectively beaten at Baltimore and New Orleans just as were the British.