The Baltimore Sun
A Year in Review

The year 1812, a leap year, started in full swing on a Wednesday. This year, included in the second millennium, saw the birth of many famous historical figures, the death of notable individuals, and a war which one country came out victorious. The United State remained irritated by the failure of the British to withdraw from American soil along the Great Lakes.

January and February months brought new life and energy to the global economy which is quickly flourishing. Russia established a fur trading colony on the west coast, while the first cargo arrived in New Orleans by steam. A new system of measuring known as the metric system was put into use after being approved by Napoleon Bonaparte as well.

In addition, weather deemed to be disastrous as the year began, literally shaking society as a whole. Destruction and endless amounts of damage swept through places such as Missouri and Venezuela as earthquakes killed many and left thousands others homeless. This natural disaster called for the first ever U.S. foreign aid bill to be passed, allowing money to help rebuild the areas impacted. Meanwhile, Massachusetts governor, Elderidge Gerry invented gerrymandering where Governor Gerry signed a bill into law that redistricted his state to benefit his Democratic-Republican party. This would change things drastically in the political scene and voting for presidential candidates.

This year also marked the 18th state being admitted to the United State-Louisiana. However, on June 4, 1812, the Twelfth U.S. Congress enacted legislation that renamed the Louisiana Territory as the Territory of Missouri to avoid confusion with the recently admitted state of Louisiana.

June arrived and war had officially been declared, acquiring names such as “Mr. Madison’s War” and “The Second American Revolution.” U.S. President James Madison signed a declaration of war however this was highly opposed by many. Due to the build up of trade tensions and restrictions, impressments of the US Navy personnel into the Royal Navy, Indian raids, and U.S. expansionism, war was passed by the smallest margin on a war vote ever in the U.S. Congress. The inhabitants of what was to become Canada fought side by side with the British forces and their First Nation allies to defend their lands against the Americans. Battles were generally fought on the frontier and in bodies of water; however invasion of territory was also happening.

As many know, America was not well equipped for such a war, particularly against forces such as Britain; therefore General William Hull led 1,000 untrained troops to battle. The Americans were uncoordinated and failure was killing the morale and nationalism of the nation. General Hull ever surrendered at places such as Fort Detroit without putting forth a fight. One positive did come out of the war however; American frigates won a series of single-ship engagements with the British, specifically the USS Constitution. As the summer months flew by Americans picked up some force, capturing two British warships and continuing the bloodshed in the Canadian regions, but there is still no end to the war.

Another turning point for our country occurs as well. James Madison is elected for another term as US President and heavily relied upon to encourage such as weak militia.

In regards to entertainment, this year saw the creation of the Waltz in English ballrooms however many objected to this type of dancing because it appeared immoral. Also, the 1812 musical Overture hit the ground running and set a standard for musical instrumental introductions. The very first novel of Grimm’s Fairy Tales also made its debut and attracted kids of all ages.

What is in store for 1813, you may be asking yourself? With Fort McHenry right down the road, let’s hope the fighting stays clear of here. Only time will tell.

Sarah Merritt
Sun Writer