Follow the War of 1812 in "real time" at the Blog of 1812


Perhaps the principle highlight of James Madison’s presidency was the aptly named War of 1812. Often referred to as “America’s Second War for Independence,” the war was the new nation’s struggle for sovereignty. Locked in a long and difficult clash with Napoleon, the British attempted to hinder the growth and prosperity of their former colony, and prevent the United States from colluding against them with the French. They imposed restrictions on American trade, kidnapped and impressed Americans into the British Navy, and sponsored Native American resistance to American expansion. These antagonistic measures plagued the country throughout the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison, and sparked much debate and controversy over how to resolve the conflict.Toward the close of his first term in office, President Madison urged Congress to declare war on Great Britain, and on June 18, 1812, finally signed that declaration. The war raged on for almost three years, amplifying the controversies that had been coursing through the nation, and threatening to destroy the ever-fragile union. Although nothing changed on paper when the Treaty of Ghent returned the two countries to the status quo ante bellum and ended the war, the United States emerged as a nation that had once again thrown off the mighty British to assert its rights and independence.

In commemoration of the war and its bicentennial anniversary, James Madison’s Montpelier has partnered with The Hermitage, historic home of Andrew Jackson, and several other cultural sites and historical societies to create the Blog of 1812.

Each day, letters, newspaper articles and other documents from exactly two hundred years ago are posted to the blog, creating a day-by-day bicentennial documentary of the war. As the curatorial department’s summer intern through the University of Virginia’s Institute for Public History, Conor Farrell transcribed many of Madison’s letters from the war, as well as various newspaper articles relating to Madison, which will be posted to the blog over the next three years. Visit the Blog of 1812 to get your daily dose of American history as it happened, and visit Montpelier’s on-site exhibit, “A Young Nation Stands: James Madison and the War of 1812″ to learn more about the war.

Montpelier thanks guest blogger and UVA summer intern, Conor Farrell for contributing to this blog!









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