The great thing about the war of 1812 is that it has something for everyone. I know that Canadians regard the war as an unequivocal victory. Interestingly enough, Americans don't regard it as a defeat, but as a victory. Yes, the invasion of Ontario was a disaster. Yes, Washington DC got burned. But there was the naval war and New Orleans. For the Americans, the whole plucky, fledgling US taking on the British Empire and coming out of the war with a Status quo ante bellum treaty at the end was a morale booster. Also, bear in mind that most Americans also don't know much about the Mexican-American war and that war was- from the American perspective - hugely successful; with the acquisition of the modern states of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona. This war is how the US acquired California!!! Now if the Mexican-American war was a big deal in the states, historically speaking and the war of 1812 not; then we might be able to consider the physiology of forgetting defeat and remembering victory. But both are overshadowed - from the American perspective - by that historical behemoth of the 19th Century; the American civil war.