Humiliation and Triumph

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A surge of confidence swept America. It had many ingredients: there was Jackson ‘s victory at New Orleans; the brilliant triumphs on Lake Erie and Lake Champlain; the splendid single-ship engagements on the open seas. But of them all, nothing did quite so much to pull the country together as that searing experience of losing Washington—the people’s own capital—followed by the thrill of redemption when the same enemy force was turned back at Baltimore. In this swift turnabout new hopes were born, spirits raised, a nation uplifted. People forgot the dissension that had torn at the country through most of the war, and a new sense of national pride emerged.