Creating Legacies

The memory of the war lingered long after the guns fell silent. The Treaty of Ghent ended the fighting, but the consequences of the war cast a long shadow over the succeeding decades. With formal military engagements at a close, participants in the war began the struggle to shape its legacy. And the stories they told about the conflict were often at odds with the historical record of events themselves.

Veterans, politicians, historians, and others engaged in an active process of deciding what to remember about the war. It was a dynamic, and often contentious, process. With so many groups involved in the fighting and so many competing interests at stake, the process of creating the memory of the war often proved contested territory.The emerging narratives about the legacy of the War of 1812—who would be revered and who relegated to obscurity, which events would be singled out as turning points and which mostly forgotten—shaped the way future generations thought about the war.

Last updated: February 25, 2015

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