The War of 1812 was also known as the Second War of Independence and last week we celebrated the bicentennial of the start of it. It is largely a forgotten war today for the two main belligerents, the United States and Great Britain. It is forgotten in the U.S. because it achieved little--the peace basically restored the status quo ante. It is forgotten in Britain because it was a sideshow, in entertainment parlance a spinoff, of the Napoleonic wars that were the main action. Only in Canada, where it was partly fought, is it remembered today. This is for several reasons. First, it is the last major war to be fought on Canadian soil. Second, the war also ensured that Canada would not be swallowed up by its southern neighbor.
The war did have several important effects for the young American republic. First, it led to the destruction of the last Indian coalition capable of limiting the growth of the Republic--at the Battle of the Thames on Lake Ontario in October 1813. The Treaty of Ghent basically abandoned the North American Indians to the settlers. Second, because the Federalist Party was centered in New England, which was opposed to the war, it led to the destruction of that party and the end of the First Party System. There was approximately a decade of pause until the start of the Second Party System as the Republican Party split into opposing factions in 1825--the National Republicans, later to become the Whigs, and the Democratic Republicans who became the Democrats.