This group believed in a republic, as form of government, and equality of political opportunity, with a priority for the "yeoman farmer," (works their own land) "plantation owners," and the "plain folk." They were against merchants and manufacturers, distrusted factory workers, and despised the British system of government. Above all, they were devoted to the principles of Republicanism, especially civic duty and opposition to privilege, aristocracy, and corruption. August 24, 1814
British forces overwhelm American militiamen and march unopposed into Washington, D.C. Most congressmen and officials fled the nation's capital as soon as word came of the American defeat, but President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, escaped just before the invaders arrived.
The British army entered Washington in the late afternoon, and British officers dined that night at the deserted White House. Meanwhile, the British troops, ecstatic that they had captured their enemy's capital, set Washington on fire as revenge for the burning of Canadian government buildings by U.S. troops earlier in the war. The White House, a number of federal buildings, and several private homes were destroyed. The still uncompleted Capitol building was also set on fire, and the House of Representatives and the Library of Congress were gutted before a torrential downpour and tornado doused the flames.Two days later the British withdrew from Washington. The next day, President Madison returned to Washington and vowed to rebuild the city. James Hoban, the original architect of the White House, completed reconstruction of the executive mansion in 1817.