"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light." These words from "The Star Spangled Banner" are familiar to nearly every American, but the war that gave rise to them is often-times forgotten. The song was written during the War of 1812; often referred to as the Second War of Independence. It's also known as one of the most overlooked wars in United States history, often bookended by the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Altogether, this war, which lasted for just about two years, basically ended in a stalemate as a result of the Treaty of Ghent. In fact, many have argued that U.S. actually lost, or at the very least gained nothing out of the war, and that it was pointless. However, this is not true, as the War of 1812 was a war over America's struggle to maintain independence from Great Britain and confirm its legitimacy as a nation. .
After the Revolutionary War, the British did not treat the U.S. as an independent, sovereign nation and demonstrated antagonistic practices both at sea and at home. The offenses committed against the United States, including; attempts to restrict maritime trade, the impressment of American seamen, and the support of Native American resistance to western expansion, were major provocations for declaring war against Great Britain. It became necessary for the United States to once again uphold the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence and revolt against unfair British practices. This resulted in a war that had significant long-term impacts and affirmed America's independence, leading many to call it the "Second War for Independence." .
In June of 1812, President James Madison and the United States Congress declared war on Great Britain. During the war, which became known as the War of 1812, both countries won several important battles; however, in the end the United States suffered great losses at the hands of the British, Canadian, and Native American troops.