There's good reason to celebrate the War of 1812

Letter writer David Brandenburg argues that the causes and nature of the War of 1812 have been misrepresented in recent coverage of conflict's ("Sun readers aren't getting the truth about War of 1812," July 4). He asserts that it was an unjust war of aggression by the United States.

In his zeal to make the case he fails to acknowledge that the U.S. had legitimate, long-standing and unredressed grievances with Britain. Interference with our trade as a neutral country, impressment of American sailors, and agitation among Native American tribes along our western frontier were three of the most prominent.

For the young and woefully unprepared United States to declare war on the greatest world power of the day speaks to the deep sense of frustration over Britain's failure to respect U.S. sovereignty. It was described by many at the time as a "second war for independence."

Even the initially pacifist lawyer, Francis Scott Key, who called the war "a lump of wickedness," later enlisted in the District of Columbia militia and served as an aide to Gen. Walter Smith.

That Congressional "warhawks" used the pretext of conflict with Britain to further their ambitions to invade and ultimately annex Canada is without question. Several New England states did contemplate secession due to the war's negative impact on their commercial interests with Britain and Canada. No war is without elements of self-serving political and economic motivation, as well as examples of incompetence and atrocities on all sides.

It is well that that the myth of the "good war" is dead. But, the heroic and glorious deeds of individuals and groups — the citizens of Baltimore, for one example — in coming together to defend their homes, their community and their national sovereignty deserve to be deeply respected, long remembered and joyously celebrated.

Gerald Pech, Baltimore

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