Millercenter.org’s summary of speech:
“Madison dedicates his second address to praising U.S. citizens for their noble participation in the War of 1812. The President condemns the British for bad conduct, such as taking citizens as prisoners of war, but calls the U.S. Army heroic for seeking to preserve the rights and freedoms of the small country.”
Thoughts on Transcript:
When Madison gave his first address, clouds of war were on the horizon. When Madison gives his second inaugural address, the storm is upon him. The US in now at war. They fight on the waters – Madison makes note of the “gallant exploits of our naval heroes” (speaking of the USS Constitution). They fight, and lose horribly, throughout Canada. They fight defensively in the US. They see the capital burned. And, two years after Madison is inaugurated, they will see a peace treaty signed.