Welcome to the US War of 1812 Website

   On June 18, 1812, the United States stunned the world by declaring war on Great Britain.

Supporting its allies in Spain and Portugal, Britain’s army was on the Iberian Peninsula, involved in a struggle with Napoleon Bonaparte, who had marshaled the forces of Revolutionary France under his penumbra.

Despite losing the Thirteen Colonies to George Washington and the American revolutionaries twenty-five years earlier, England, like many on the European continent, did not take the United States that seriously. Despite the fact that most of Britain’s supplies for the Napoleonic war came from America and Canada -from beef to feed the Duke of Wellington’s army, to the oak trees essential to maintain Britain’s majestic navy. Britain found itself faced with another war, a war they had assiduously tried to avoid.

We Will Not Back Down

   To have shrunk, under such circumstances, from manly resistence, would have been a degradation blasting our best and proudest hopes; it would have struck us from the high ranks where the virtuous struggles of our fathers had placed us, and have betrayed the magnificent legacy which we hold in trust for future generations. It would have acknowledged that on the element which forms three-fourths of the globe we inhabit, where all independent nations have equal and common rights, the American people were not an independent people, but colonists and vassals
   -- President James Madison, November 1812