Unpopular wars are hardly new to the United States. In 1812 the administration of James Madison led a reluctant nation into an unpopular war against the formidable British Empire.
Author Richard V. Barbuto examines 1812: America on the Ropes on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The War of 1812 began with much confidence among U.S. leaders. Thomas Jefferson predicted that the conquest of Canada was "a mere matter of marching." But after six months of fighting, British and Canadian troops and their native allies had thrown back three U.S. invasion attempts and had captured Detroit.
Soon the Royal Navy was prowling American shores, capturing vessels and raiding towns. Britain threatened to seize more American territory, the federal government slipped deeper into debt., and British troops even burned the White House.
Much of the American public blamed the president personally, calling this "Mr. Madison's War." How did America's first foreign war start off so very badly? And how did the United States finally prevail?
Barbuto is deputy director of the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th and Baltimore. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.