June 18, 1812: A deeply divided United States declares war on Great Britain. War is declared for many reasons: continuing violations of American neutrality, forced enlistment of American sailors in the Royal Navy, rumors of British alliances with American Indian tribes, and a desire by some Americans to annex British Canada.
Although the War of 1812 officially ended with the stroke of a pen in Washington, D.C., the men and women of 1815 saw the American victory on a field in Chalmette as the war's true end. It was also the beginning of a true American identity: no longer would Americans think of their country as a collection of states with different interests, but rather as a nation which drew its strength from its differences. E pluribus unum---"Out of many, one."
In 2015, Chalmette Battlefield and other sites of Jean Lafitte commemorated the 200th anniversary of the war that united the United States. From muskets to tactics, from upcoming events to historical people and places, you can find out more about the War of 1812 at the links below.
Cast your vote! Should the United States declare war on Great Britain? Listen to the arguments, make your choice, and cast your vote at a special interactive website created by Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Click here to see how Chalmette Battlefield commemorated the beginning of the War of 1812 in June 2012.
Last updated: November 2, 2018