It’s tempting to think of unpopular wars as a modern phenomenon, something that came about only during the eras of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Indeed, it’s hard to picture early Americans opposing our country’s military efforts. 

But 200 years ago, Americans, especially Vermonters, found themselves bitterly divided over whether to fight Britain for its provocative actions. We have no polling data from the period, but one Vermont newspaper editor who supported the war estimated that 40 percent of the state’s population did not. 

That was just one man’s guess, but clearly a sizable portion of Vermonters wanted nothing to do with the war the United States declared against Britain in 1812.

The War of 1812 is remembered elsewhere as a struggle between Britain and France for supremacy in Europe. It was just the continuation of a long-running conflict between the two countries. And in the early years of the 1800s, American merchants profited from it, doing a brisk business supplying both sides in the struggle. 

But the United States eventually found it could not remain neutral. […]

Then Again: Vermonters were bitterly divided over the War of 1812 — VTDigger