This year, the Canadian government has decided to commemorate the War of 1812 bicentennial by recognizing key battles and heroes in re-enactments and other events, restoring various heritage sites pertinent to the war, and honouring a number of military regiments with connections to the militias of the war era. This article looks at the history of the War and how it has been perceived by the various parties who participated.
Two hundred years ago, an anxious American president reluctantly signed a declaration of war on Great Britain. Indeed, on the face of it, James Madison was sensible to be concerned. His new nation was in a state of political and financial disarray. Its army and navy was miniscule in comparison to the British war machine, which was in high gear fighting against Napoleon and the French. But in the nearly thirty years since the conclusion of the American War of Independence, British authorities had never fully reconciled themselves to the loss of thirteen of their colonies in North America and had been pursuing policies that angered raw, youthful American sensitivities.