In the wildly popular Youtube chanel Crash Course, the narrator states that the War of 1812 bears that title only because of the historians' "great imagination" and mentions three humorous names that could very well describe the War of 1812.

This got me to thinking: did the War of 1812 ever have a (relatively) commonly-used name other than or more descriptive than "War of 1812"?

Please include reliable sources in your answer.

  • According to the war-of-1812 tag you've selected, it's sometimes called "The Second War of Independence" (presumably by U.S. authors). Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 16:08

3 Answers 3


It has been referred to as the War of 1812 since a very short time after the war:

From History of the Hartford Convention:with a review of the policy of the Unites States government which led to the war of 1812 ...By Theodore Dwight, published 1833.

Such was the origin of the war of 1812...

Another book published in 1827 here:

...Doings in relation to the war of 1812...


This shows usage of the phrase as early as 1827, so within 15 years of the war. There may be earlier references, but I haven't run across them yet.


In German and several Slavic languages it is called the "British-American War". In a cursory look I didn't find any alternate names used by the combatants.


In the USA, the war is also known as "Second War of Independence".

Hickey, Donald R. ed. The War of 1812: Writings from America's Second War of Independence (2013).

  • More to the point, it can really be thought of as "Canada's War of Independence" (from the United States). The myth of American blue coats being turned back by Canadian militia aided solely by Indian allies was a key political factor in the perception of a Canadian national identity. Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 15:46
  • I think that's just a metaphor in the subtitle. Certainly I have never seen it used as as name elsewhere.
    – Mary
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 22:17

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