President James Madison was one of the shortest presidents in history. He had two nicknames “Little Jemmy” and “Father of the Constitution”. His influence on America can not be overstated as he had much influence on the Constitution and ushered in the “Era of Good Feelings” at the end of his term.
March 4, 1809: James Madison was sworn into office by Chief Justice John Marshall. Within his inaugural address, he said he would not tolerate foreign interference.
April 19, 1809: Madison legalizes trade with Great Britain and then repeals the legalization. This was due to the British ambassador suggesting that some restrictions were lifted on American ships when they were not.
May 1, 1810: The Non-Intercourse Act is replaced with Macon’s Bill No. 2 which allows Madison to reopen trade with Great Britain and France.
August 5, 1810: Madison reopens trade with France after Napoleon learns of Macon’s Bill No. 2.
October 27, 1810: The United States annex West Florida when Madison proclaims West Florida territory and authorizes its military occupation.
November 1810: Madison prohibits trade with Great Britain which ends any hope for peace negotiations with them.
February 20, 1811: Congress allows the First Bank of the United States to expire. The bank was put in place during the Washington administration under the guidance of Alexander Hamilton. The bank was considered unconstitutional by the Democratic-Republicans.
April 6, 1811: Madison appoints James Monroe as his Secretary of State and sends him to Britain to try and negotiate an ending to the restrictions placed on American shipping.
May 16, 1811: The British and American navies have a confrontation just outside of New York Harbor. It results in nine deaths and twenty-three wounded British mariners.
September 19, 1811: The United States learn that Napoleon never issued a decree loosening restrictions on American vessels.
November 4, 1811: Congressional elections are held and a younger generation is put into power. These leaders would become known as War Hawks as they wanted to go to war with Great Britain. The leaders of this movement were Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.
November 7-8, 1811: Shawnee Warriors attack American troops under General William Henry Harrison which led to the Battle of Tippecanoe. Harrison would gain a legendary victory that would eventually propel him to the presidency in 1841.
April 1, 1812: Congress passes another Embargo against Britain.
April 20, 1812: Vice President George Clinton dies.
April 30, 1812: Louisiana is admitted as the 18th state of the union.
June 1, 1812: Madison begins to push for Congress to declare war on Great Britain. He sends congress an argument that consisted of four reasons: British Impressment, violation of American neutrality, blockade of American ports, and Britain’s refusal to repeal the Orders of Council.
June 4, 1812: The House of Representatives voted in favor of war, and the vote moves to the Senate.
June 16, 1812: Britain revokes the Orders in Council, but the news does not reach America in time before war was declared. The repeal lifts trade restrictions with Great Britain.
June 18, 1812: The Senate votes 19-13 in favor of war.
June 19, 1812: James Madison declares war on Great Britain.
June 30, 1812: Congress issues interest-bearing treasury notes. This would become the first circulating currency.
July 1, 1812: General William Hull’s personal baggage is captured and within it is the plan to attack Upper Canada. The British learn of the plans and begin preparation for defense.
July 12, 1812: General Hull and 2,200 men cross the Detroit River and occupy Sandwich.
July 17, 1812: The British capture an American post on Michilimackinac Island. Shawnee leader Tecumseh allies with the British.
August 8, 1812: Hull and his men retreat to Detroit out of concern that Tecumseh will cut off their lines of communication.
August 15, 1812: Native Americans kill eighty-six adults and twelve children at the garrison at Fort Dearborn. It became known as the Fort Dearborn Massacre.
August 16, 1812: Fearing another massacre, General Hull surrenders Detroit to the British. This gives the British control of the Lake Erie region. Hull will later be court-martialed for cowardice.
August 19, 1812: Admiral Isaac Hull commands the USS Constitution to victory against the British Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia.
September 17, 1812: William Henry Harrison is made a brigadier general and given orders to recapture Detroit. 10,000 men are placed under his command.
October 13 – November 28, 1812: The Niagara Campaign fails when the New York militia refuses to support the American army which leads to the crushing defeat by the British.
October 17, 1812: The Wasp under the command of American Captain Jacob Jones defeats the British Frolic 600 miles off the Virginia Coast.
October 25, 1812: The United States under the command of Stephen Decatur captures the British frigate Macedonian off the coast of Madeira Islands.
November 5, 1812: President Madison vetoes the naturalization bill due “to abuse by aliens having no real purpose of effectuating naturalization.”
December 2, 1812: James Madison is reelected as President.
December 29, 1812: The Constitution destroys British frigate Java off the coast of Brazil.
January 13, 1813: Madison replaces William Eustis with John Armstrong as Secretary of War.
January 22, 1813: The Americans are defeated by the British at the Battle of Frenchtown.
March 25, 1813: The Essex participates in the first naval battle in the Pacific Ocean.
April 15, 1813: General James Wilkinson captures a Spanish Fort in Mobile Alabama, and acquires the region from Mobile to the Perdido River.
April 27, 1813: The Americans capture York which was the capital of Upper Canada. However, casualties were high and included General Zebulon Pike. Instead of occupying the city, they set fire to all government buildings. In response, the British torched Washington D.C.
May 1-9, 1813: General Harrison successfully defends Fort Meigs against a combined force of British and Native Americans.
May 26, 1813: The British blockade expands to the mouth of the Mississippi River which affects ports in New York, Charleston, Port Royal, and Savannah.
June 1, 1813: The British frigate Shannon captures the American frigate Chesapeake. During the battle, the American Captain James Lawrence issued a final order of “Don’t give up the ship!” which becomes a rallying cry for the Americans throughout the war.
July 27, 1813: The Creek War begins when a skirmish occurs between American settlers and the Creek Nation.
August 2, 1813: The Americans successfully defend Fort Stephenson, but General Harrison cannot attack Detroit since the British control Lake Erie.
August 30, 1813: The Creek Indians attack Fort Mims and massacre many. In response, Andrew Jackson recruits 2,000 volunteers.
September 10, 1813: Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeats the British at the Battle of Lake Erie giving control of the lake to the Americans. After the battle, Perry sends a letter to General Harrison that reads, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
September 18, 1813: The British evacuate Detroit. This frustrates Tecumseh who believed they should stay and fight.
October 5, 1813: General Harrison catches up with the retreating British and Native Americans and fights them at Moravian Town on the Thames River. It would be a decisive American victory that would cost Tecumseh his life and with it, the Native American alliances would be weakened.
November 3-9, 1813: Tennessee Volunteers under Andrew Jackson retaliate against the Creek Indians by destroying the settlements at Talishatchee and Talledega.
November 11, 1813: British Prime Minister Lord Castlereagh offers to negotiate a peace treaty with Madison to which he accepts.
November 11, 1813: An American plan to capture Montreal fails and the Americans retreat back across the U.S. Border.
November 16, 1813: The British blockade the Long Island Sound which closes all ports south of New London, Connecticut.
December 17, 1813: Congress orders an Embargo on trade with British troops.
December 29-30, 1813: The British retaliate for the burning of the Canadian villages of Newark and Queensland, by capturing Fort Niagara, burning the American settlements of Buffalo and Black Rock, and encouraging Native-American raids on the surrounding countryside.
March 27, 1814: Andrew Jackson decisively defeats Creek Warriors at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The battle would force a third of the Creek Nation to relocate from southern and western Alabama.
March 31, 1814: In a special message to Congress President James Madison requests that Congress repeal the Embargo and Non-Importation acts.
April 14, 1814: Madison signs a bill authorizing the repeal of the Embargo and Non-Importation Acts.
August 19-24, 1814: The British under General Robert Ross destroy an American flotilla. The commander of the flotilla musters a local militia to meet the advancing British but was defeated. After the defeat, the British began to march on Washington D.C.
August 24-25, 1814: The British Troops march into Washington D.C. and set the fire to the White House and all other government buildings, many homes, and the office of the National Intelligencer. Secretary of War John Armstrong burns the naval yard to assure that it does not fall into British hands.
September 11, 1814: American naval forces defeat a British fleet at the Battle of Lake Champlain. The victory gives America control over the Lake Champlain waterway.
September 12-14, 1814: The Battle of Fort McHenry is fought and America withstands the assault on land and sea. The battle inspired the song “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.
November 7, 1814: General Andrew Jackson captures the settlement of Pensacola.
December 15 – January 5, 1814: The Hartford Convention meets when many anti-war Federalists from New England met. During the convention, they talked about changing the language in the Constitution and possibly seceding from the United States. After the Treaty of Ghent was signed it caused the Federalists to be discredited and the Hartford Convention to never gain any influence.
December 24, 1814: The Treaty of Ghent ends the war and resets the U.S. and Canadian border. It does not deal with the issues that started the war.
January 1-8, 1815: The Battle of New Orleans takes place. Andrew Jackson and his men devastate the British forces. The British lost 2,036 men while only 8 died for the Americans.
January 30, 1815: Congress purchases Thomas Jefferson’s library to help restore the Library of Congress that was lost in the fire.
June 17-30, 1815: The Barbary Coast state of Algiers renews demands for tribute money from American ships in the Mediterranean Sea. Stephen Decatur responds by capturing two Algerian ships and forces the government to release American prisoners and sign a treaty that would end the harassment of American vessels in the Mediterranean.
July 3, 1815: Great Britain allows American trade in the East Indies.
July 4, 1815: The cornerstone of the first monument to honor George Washington is laid in Baltimore, Maryland.
April 10, 1816: Congress creates the Second Bank of the United States as a depository for the government’s money.
December 4, 1816: James Monroe is elected as the fifth President of the United States.
December 11, 1816: Indiana is admitted to the union as the 19th state.
February 7, 1817: The Gas Light company of Baltimore becomes the first commercial gas light company in the United States. It lights its first gas light at Market and Lemon Street in Baltimore, Maryland.
March 3, 1817: In his final days as president James Madison signs a bill establishing Alabama territory. He also vetoes the Bonus Bill.