Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812:
As Jackson's honor suffered, so too did his country's. The war between France and Britain led to the seizure of American vessels and sailors to deny each other men and supplies, even though the U.S. was not involved in their conflict. In addition, Britain openly encouraged Indian tribes to rise up against the U.S. In 1810, frustrated Americans, especially Westerners and Southerners, sent a young nationalistic generation of leaders to Washington who supported economic development, territorial expansion, and respect for American rights. In 1812, these "War Hawks" forced President James Madison into war with Britain. Americans saw the War of 1812 as an opportunity for the United States to reassert its independence. For Andrew Jackson, it was a chance to win back respect.
The U.S. has some early successes in the War of 1812, but failed to take Canada from Britain. In New England, the war so damaged commerce that in late 1814 the region threatened to secede. In the midst of the war with the British, a civil war broke out among the Creek Indians that spilled over to attacks on white settlers. In 1813, Andrew Jackson and his "Tennessee Volunteer" militia marched to Alabama to fight the Creeks.
Despite shortages of men and supplies, Jackson defeated the Creeks in 1814 and the U.S. Army rewarded him with a commission as a Major General in the regular army. Soon after, the War Department assigned Jackson to defend New Orleans against an impending British invasion. Few in Washington believed Jackson could repulse the British; and if New Orleans fell, Britain would control the vital Mississippi River trade. Still, on January 8, 1815, Jackson and his army stunned the world as they crushed the British invasion and inflicted heavy casualties, while only suffering a few. Word of Jackson's victory touched off celebrations across a war-weary nation; and within days, news arrived from Europe that Britain and the United States had signed a treaty ending the War of 1812. However, without the stunning victory at New Orleans, Britain and the U.S. might not have ratified the treaty.