Category Archives: War of 1812

A Tornado Saves Washington during the War of 1812

In honor of the bicentennial of this peculiar episode during the War of 1812, I am re-posting this article I wrote a couple years ago.

Historical Digression

A burnt-out White House, August 1814.

The War of 1812 is, in my opinion, a bizarre episode in U.S. History. Both nations went into the war with few clear objectives. Neither were prepared. The campaigns are a litany of tragic, botched efforts resulting in pointless bloodshed. And in the end, everything returning to status quo ante bellum, that is, as they were prior to the war.

It begs the question, “Why did we fight?” That large topic is not the subject of this post. I’ll simply say (and perhaps will go more in depth on the matter in a future post) that the war had more to do with western territory than anything else, setting up a pattern for all U.S. wars in the 19th century. It irks me when historians focus on the issue of sovereignty on the high seas and refer the War of 1812 as the “Second War of…

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