Who Won the War of 1812?

A painting showing a US ship capturing a British ship in the War of 1812.
A painting showing a US ship capturing a British ship in the War of 1812.

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and the United Kingdom. Each party had its allies supporting it. The war was fought in North America and in the sea.

The War of 1812 broke out in June 1812 and lasted until February 1815. The Americans declared war against the British because of the conflicts they had at sea. The Royal Navy had a tendency of capturing the Americans in the sea and forcing them to work in the Royal Navy. Americans had had enough of the Royal Navy taking advantage of its superiority in their impressments and blockade activities. Britain blockading America from trading with France further triggered the declaration of the war. The War of 1812 was the first time in history that the Americans declared war against the British.

Forces Involved In the War

The United States Navy was made of 7,250 sailors. The force was well trained and professional because it had had experience in previous wars. The only problem the force experienced was inadequate funding. America was also not well equipped with warships. The opponent, the Royal Navy, was well trained and well-equipped and was the greatest naval power in the world. At this time, the British did not concentrate fully on the war because part of its army was involved in the Napoleonic War which was also being fought at the same time.

Who Won the War of 1812?

By the end of the war, the US has suffered costly defeat in the hands of their rival including the burning of Washington DC. Approximately 15,000 people Americans died during the war and 8,600 British and Canadians also died. The war ended with the signing of Treaty of Ghent which resulted to over a century of peace between the two countries. Consequently, the War of 1812 led to economic stagnation in the economy of America. The British had successfully managed to blockade America’s coastline. Some of the products scarce in the US including cotton clothes.

Case for British Victory

The British claim that they did not take the war seriously as their opponents did. They insist that the Americans took advantage of them being involved in the Napoleonic War which was being fought at the time. The British did not send large troops to support the Royal Navy until 1814. They consider themselves victorious because the war was more of a walk in the park for them, and not a struggle as the Americans consider it. Furthermore, the British argue that the Americans failed to drive them from North America, which implies that they were more powerful.

Case for American Victory

The Americas insist that they won the war for a number of reasons. It was the first time that America was staging a war against Britain, which had the most superior navy in the world. Due to the British sea superiority, it was expected that America would lose some of its territories to the British. However, none of America’s territory was conquered during the war. America’s success in the assertion of its independence from the British also makes them insist that they won the war.


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