The Napoleonic Wars are raging in Europe. British manpower is stretched to its breaking point. Nearly 6,000 American sailors are taken against their will under the policy of impressment and forced into service in the British Navy. Trade restrictions are imposed on America that impedes trade with France. America responds with embargoes that hurt the US more than Britain.
On June 18, 1812, America, for the first time, declares war on another nation—the United Kingdom. The congressional vote is the closest vote to declare war in American history. The War of 1812 begins and the young democracy is put to the test.
The United States of America was the first modern democratic republic in the world, and 1812 was the first official war that the republic had ever fought as a nation. As such, it immediately brought up numerous questions about the way a democracy conducts war, the powers of the presidency, and the nature of a country made up of independent-minded states… ( )
The War of 1812 premiered October 10, 2011 on PBS.