“The Star Spangled Banner,” Tecumseh, the Battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson, the burning of Washington, D.C. and the Library of Congress: These are the schoolbook flashcards associated with the War of 1812. Yet while the war was vividly remembered for the first 50 years after it was fought, its history has largely failed to capture imaginations since then.
In this hour of BackStory we go beyond the trivia to take a closer look at the War of 1812. On the occasion of its bicentennial, we ask what this now-obscure war did to shape the United States. Why did we fight it to begin with? What did we have to prove and did we prove it? What drama and passion did Francis Scott Key see in this war that inspired him to pen the “Star Spangled Banner”? What about this war have we chosen to remember and how ?
We want your input as we shape this episode. Do you remember being taught the War of 1812 in school? If so, how was it taught and what facts or stories about the war stood out to you? What is your sense of how the war shaped the country, if it shaped it at all? What did we gain or lose from fighting it? Please share your stories, questions, and ideas below.