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Though the War of 1812 may receive little attention in public school history classes these days, it is not forgotten by historians or American history buffs. The fact that it was a short war, lasting 32 months, is one reason for its seeming unimportance, especially when compared with the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War. British activity was mostly of a defensive nature until after Napoleon's defeat in 1814, but America's borders and independence were at threat, and the subjugation of the United States was still the prime goal of the invading British armies and navies. These threats proved to be a patriotic boon to Americans, who considered the British invasion as a second war of independence. The eventual American victory brought unexpected results, instilling an "Era of Good Feelings" between the two old adversaries. Great Britain, still revelling in its far more important victory over Napoleon, realized that they had lost the colonies for good; the U. S. knew that they were an international power to be feared; and it gave Canada (for whom the two sides had been battling) a new sense of pride. Free trade opened up between England and the U. S., making each of the nations stronger and richer; they became close allies who would support each other in future world wars. No new territories were gained or lost between the two nations, allowing England to save face somewhat. Heroes, particularly Andrew Jackson, still emerged; but it is not surprising that the War of 1812 became minimized in importance, sandwiched between the two greatest conflicts on American soil--the Revolution and the War Between the States.
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