The War of 1812

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The significant outcomes and overall impact of the War of 1812 for the United States

Summary:

The War of 1812 had significant outcomes and overall impact for the United States, including the affirmation of American sovereignty, increased national pride, and the demise of Native American resistance in the Northwest Territory. The war also stimulated economic growth and led to the "Era of Good Feelings," characterized by political unity and a sense of national purpose.

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What were the significant outcomes of the War of 1812 for the United States?

There were significant outcomes for the United States as a result of the War of 1812. One major impact was that it showed that the United States could hold its own if it fought against a major world power. While there was no land that changed hands as a result of the war, the perception of many Americans was that the country had defeated Great Britain, especially after the crushing victory at New Orleans. The war showed that the United States would stand up for its beliefs and fight for them if necessary. The United States was upset that the British interfered with its trade and impressed its sailors.

Another outcome was that it brought a period of political harmony and a sense of national pride to the United States. The Federalist Party disappeared at the end of the war, in part because they were opposed to the war, and people in the country began to believe they could accomplish many things that they might have doubted before. The Era of Good Feelings arrived with the election of 1816. There was only one political party, the Democratic-Republican Party, so most people were on the same page politically. The development of the American System helped American industries to grow and led to improvements in American transportation with the building of new roads, canals, and railroads. The United States became more active in foreign affairs as Florida became American controlled land (a result of a treaty with Spain). The United States also issued the Monroe Doctrine, which told European countries to stay out of the Americas.

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What were the significant outcomes of the War of 1812 for the United States?

The War of 1812 is considered a forgotten war in American history because no property changed hands between the United States and Britain.  The most important thing to come out of the War of 1812 was an increased sense of American nationalism.  Having defeated the most powerful empire during the war, Americans were proud of their nation.  There were more open displays of patriotism after the war.  When word leaked that the Federalists wished to take the Northeast out of the Union in the secessionist movement during the Hartford Convention, most of America turned against the party, signaling its end.  This led to the dominance of the Democratic-Republicans.  While the party did not speak with one voice, there was little of the political fighting that took place during the election of 1800.  

Another key aspect of the war was that the British hold over the Great Lakes region was finally broken.  British forts were used as resupply stations for Native Americans who harassed settlements in the region, though British meddling was a clear violation of the Treaty of Paris of 1783.  After the war, the British left, and the native tribes were left to the mercy of an onrush of Americans.  Within twenty years of the war ending, Native American resistance in the Midwest had largely been broken.  Americans also dropped any serious plans to invade Canada, especially since they were so soundly defeated in this endeavor during the early stages of the war.  

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What was the overall impact of the War of 1812?

I think that one impact of the war was that it forever ended the threat of Britain to America. What the American Revolution brought about, the War of 1812 forcefully finalized it.  There would never be a political threat of Britain interfering or overtaking the United States.  It also helped to establish America as a world power, capable of competing with any other nation and being able to assert itself in this regard.  I would also suggest that one of the most profound domestic impacts of the war was to develop the emerging sectionalism that would come to define the nation in the Civil War.  Northern interests, specifically those in New England, talked of secession, eerily foreshadowing what Southern counterparts would echo some fifty decades later.  The war's other prominent domestic impact would be the relegation of Native Americans.  The war did much to force the Native Americans into a position of hoping for mercy from American settlers.  This was not to be.  Andrew Jackson's "heroics" at Horseshoe Bend becomes a military symbol of what the political and social reality is going to be for Native Americans in life following the war.

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What were some consequences of the War of 1812?

The Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812, made no mention of the practice of Impressment, over which the war was fought. In essence, the Treaty re-established the Status Quo Ante Bellum (the way things were before the war) as was often the case in European Wars.

Although militarily, the United States accomplished very little--in fact many historians consider it to be a loss for the U.S.-- it did have other important consequences:

  • Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans made him a war hero and exceptionally popular. It was this victory that made him a household word, and eventually propelled him to the Presidency. During his campaign for President, his slogan to compare himself with the more academic John Q. Adams was "Adams can write; but Jackson can fight."
  • The war marked the demise of the Federalist Party creating a one party nation. Many Federalists had opposed the war, and participated in the famous Hartford Convention which demanded several amendments to the Constitution as a condition of remaining in the Union. After the war, many Americans considered this unpatriotic, and the Federalist Party ceased to exist.
  • The intense nationalism that evolved because of the War led to the "Era of Good Feelings," in which only one political party existed,the Democratic Republicans; and the virtually unanimous re-election of James Monroe as President. Monroe received all but three electoral votes. One elector voted for John Q. Adams, as he believed the honor of unanimous election should belong to George Washington alone. Two others abstained, ostensibly for the same reasons.
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What were some consequences of the War of 1812?

The War of 1812 had serious impacts on the United States.  Let us look at two of the most important of these.

First, there is the fact that this war helped to make the United States much more truly independent from Britain.  After the war, the British stopped doing things like impressing American sailors, thus treating the US with the respect due a sovereign nation.

Second, the war helped to make Americans feel nationalistic.  It helped them to feel more pride in their country because they had (at least in their minds) fought one of the most powerful countries in the world to a draw.  This was a major source of pride for many Americans. 

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