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Victory at Sea

The Navy comes of age in the War of 1812.

Dec 5, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 12 • By JOSEPH F. CALLO
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From the American point of view, the possibility of an Indian buffer nation against U.S. expansion to the northwest was eliminated. Almost certainly of greater importance, the United States gained international stature that did not exist before the war, and at the center of that new stature was the United States Navy. In the final analysis it would be hard to deny that the principal element of power that achieved America’s new geopolitical status was the Navy, where leaders like Perry, Macdonough, Isaac Hull, William Bainbridge, and Stephen Decatur had come to maturity. It was a force that had established emphatically that it not only would fight against the best but could also win decisively at that level. And it could win not only in a tactical context but in a strategic context as well. In basic terms, and in Daughan’s words, the United States Navy had “found a permanent place in America’s strategic thinking.”

Joseph F. Callo is the author of John Paul Jones: America’s First Sea Warrior.

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