Signs of conflict brewed for years before the outbreak of war in 1812. No one could see with perfect foresight where the heightening tensions would ultimately lead. Some believed war might be avoided through diplomatic maneuvering. Others hoped that strategic alliances would help secure their interests should war come.
In the years leading up to the conflict, different groups sought to prepare themselves as best they could for an uncertain future. From the Great European powers to America's political parties, from indigenous tribes on the frontier to individuals in towns and homes throughout North America, inhabitants tried to brace themselves for mounting conflicts. The war that finally broke out was not one conflict but many—fights that would have long-term consequences for the people and groups caught up in them.
Last updated: March 5, 2015