The War of 1812 was caused by tensions between Great Britain and the newly established United States of America. These tensions primarily had to do with international trade. The official declaration of war came from the United States Congress. The United States officially went to war against Great Britain on June 18th, 1812. At the time, James Madison was president. He remained president during the entire duration of the war. The official end of the War of 1812 was February 18th, 1815.
During the war, both the United States and Great Britain fought with allied Native American tribes. Today, the war is famous as being the inspiration for "The Star Spangled Banner." It was also during the War of 1812 that Dolley Madison rescued the famous portrait of George Washington from the attacking British troops.