How is the war of 1812 viewed? It all depends on where you stand.
For Americans, it started because Britain began infringing on their maritime rights, seizing US ships, cargo, and sailors who they then impressed into serving the crown. While the US won no decisive battles against Britain, they were able to fight to a draw thus establishing their status as a world power.
For the British, it is more of a footnote in their history as they were far more focused upon their conflict with Napoleon in Europe. However they did see the American desire to expand its territory as a threat to their remaining colonies and so extended aid to the native Indians and Canadians to help stem the US expansion.
For the Canadians, it was source of national pride, as they repelled numerous attacks upon their land, fighting against a larger, superior invader. US forces were never able to gain a foothold or win a battle in their attempts to acquire sections of Canada for their use. While much of the fighting was done by British regulars, the repulsion of the US sowed the seeds of nationalism within the hearts of the Canadian people which fueled a desire to chart their own course.
For the Creek Indian nation, who were engaged in their own civil war at the time, it marked the beginning of the end. As part of the Treaty of Ghent, which laid out the conditions for the cessation of hostilities, Britain agreed to withdraw their support of America’s indigenous population, allowing the US westward expansion to continue without international interference.
Amid all this conflict stood John Bell, the 4th great grand uncle of my aunt. Along with Davy Crockett, he served in William Russell’s Company of Spies under the overall command of Andrew Jackson. Their involvement was primarily against the Red Sticks (the rebellious faction of Creek Indians allied with the British) who were attacking settlements and encampments they believed encroached upon their land. A victory at Horseshoe Bend, where Bell was wounded, marked the end of that conflict and resulted in the Creeks ceding 23 million acres to the United States.
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