Humiliation and Triumph

The year was 1814, and within three weeks our “young and not always wise” nation suffered acute shame and astonishing victory

Caught in the crossfire of the Napoleonic conflict, America declared war on Great Britain in 1812 for what seemed to the government to be ample reason. The young Republic’s trade had been stifled, her seamen impressed, her ships seized by the Royal Navy. Western settlers feared British intrigue among the Indians. Canada, in contrast, loomed as an ever more inviting target for land-hungry “war hawks. ” Read more »

The Day They Burned The Capitol

Only a lucky rainfall put an end to our humiliation

Washington in 1814 was a capital city with no past to speak of, nothing much in the way of a present, and a future greater than any man then alive could imagine. It was a straggling country town, its dirt roads alternately ankle-deep in powdery dust and hub-deep in mud, with a general air of unfinished emptiness about it, and it was to become a great center of world power, imposing to look at, a place of destiny, majestic and secure.Read more »