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Although its events inspired one of our most famous national songs, the War of 1812 is itself a relatively little-known war in American history. Despite its complicated causes and inconclusive outcome, the conflict helped establish the credibility of the young United States among other nations. It also fostered a strong sense of national pride among the American people, and those patriotic feelings are reflected and preserved in the song we know today as our national anthem.

Britain's defeat at the 1781 Battle of Yorktown marked the conclusion of the American Revolution and the beginning of new challenges for a new nation. Not even three decades after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which formalized Britain's recognition of the United States of America, the two countries were again in conflict. Resentment for Britain's interference with American international trade and impressment of American sailors combined with American expansionist visions led Congress to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812.

In the early stages of the war, the American navy scored victories in the Atlantic and on Lake Erie while Britain concentrated its military efforts on its ongoing war with France. But with the defeat of Emperor Napoleon's armies in April 1814, Britain turned its full attention to the war against an ill-prepared United States. Admiral Alexander Cochrane, the British naval commander, prepared to attack U.S. coastal areas, and General Robert Ross sought to capture towns along the East Coast to create diversions while British army forces attacked along the northern boundaries of the United States.

In August 1814, General Ross and his seasoned troops landed near the nation's capital. On August 24, at Bladensburg, Maryland, about 30 miles from Washington, his five-thousand-member British force defeated an American army twice its size. That same night, British troops entered Washington. They set fire to the United States Capitol, the President's Mansion, and other public buildings. The local militia fled, and President James Madison and wife Dolley barely escaped.

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Q: Long term causes of the war is 1812?
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