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The war of 1812 was a war that the British and the Americans were waiting for since the end of the Revolutionary War. Tensions and confrontations had come and gone since 1782 and war just barely avoided at times but by 1812 the issues and passions caught up with the politics. The war was a side show of the Napoleonic wars raging in Europe and was declared by the United States against Great Britain.

England had been desperately trying to blockade France and French controlled Europe with naval power and claimed the right to board American ships in search of sailors of British origin and forcibly remove them. Britain also was attempting to prevent any trade between France and her allies. The other main point of contention was American complaints about British encouragement of Indian resistance to American expansion into the Ohio and Mississippi valleys.

On June 18, 1812 President  James Madison declared war on Great Britain. Madison was from the anti-British, pro-French fraction that Jefferson had lead for years. The expansion of the U.S. had taken pace quickly under Jefferson with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory and the belief in manifest destiny or that all of North America would become a pat of the United States was gaining hold in Washington. The U.S. believed that it would be an easy adventure to defeat the merge British forces and Canadian Militia stationed in the British colonies. The initial attacks however were not effective or successful and the British quickly captured Detroit.

The first Canadian hero to emerge from this war was Sir Isaac Brook who had become the commander in chief of the forces in Upper Canada. He acted quickly and decisively and defeated the American forces arrayed against him. It was not until October 13, 1812 when Brook led a successful counteraction at Queenston Heights and once again turned back the Americans, that his command end when he was shot by a sharpshooter and he died.

The second figure to emerge for this war was Laura Secord who overheard American soldiers discussing their plans while occupying her house and made her way through to the British and relayed all of the enemies plans. The result was a British victory and the capture of almost 600 Americans as they were attempting to capture Beaver Dam in the Niagara area.

The war dragged on until December of 1814, with victories for both sides, when a peace treaty was signed and the war ended. The news of the peace did not reach North America until 1815 after more fighting had  occurred.

Canada had held off the Americans and a the birth of a new national consciences began to form. This was the last war between Canada and Britain. If the Americans had successfully invaded Canada it is unlikely that they would have given it back to Britain after the war and that it would have been absorbed by the U.S..

By G Scott staff writter,  2012 - - section:eras, subsection British America