The War of 1812
Do Now – Answer the questions below.
____ 1. Why was Britain arming Native Americans living along the western frontier with weapons?
(a) To help out Native Americans that the British believed deserved proper treatment.
(b) To disrupt American settlers and slow down America’s westward expansion.
(c) To trick Native Americans into starting conflicts with neighboring Native American tribes.
(d) To steal land from Native Americans along the western frontier.
____ 2. Which of the following statement would the “War Hawks” most likely agree with?
(a) America should remain neutral in all foreign affairs.
(b) American merchants should trade freely with Britain and France.
(c) America should fight a war against France because Napoléon Bonaparte was a threat to democracy in Europe.
(d) America should fight a war against Britain because Britain had been supplying Native Americans with weapons.
____ 3. Why did the United States declare war against Britain in 1812?
(a) Britain and France were joining forces in Europe and President Madison worried they were becoming a too powerful alliance.
(b) Britain sunk several U.S. navy ships stationed in east coast ports.
(c) Britain attacked several forts along the east coast of the United States.
(d) James Madison and the War Hawks convinced Congress that Britain’s recent actions needed to be punished through a war.
4. Which side does the artist of this picture support: America or Britain? Explain. (2 sentences)
III. Walk in their Shoes – Read the passage. Answer the question.
5. Will your mission succeed? Explain. (2 sentences)
Reasons your mission WILL succeed:
– You know America prevailed in the last war.
– You believe God is on your side.
– You will never giver up. Reasons your mission MIGHT NOT succeed:
– The British have learned from their mistakes.
– The British have strengthened their forces.
– The British are as determined as ever.
In the summer of 1812 the United States found itself in a war with one of the world’s most powerful nations. Despite the claims by the War Hawks, the War of 1812 would not be a quick and easy fight.
War at Sea
When the war began, the British Navy had hundreds of ships. In contrast, the U.S. Navy had fewer than 20 ships. However, most of the Britain’s naval ships were scattered around the globe. Although small, the U.S. Navy had well-trained sailors and powerful new warships such as the USS Constitution. American vessels defeated British ships several times in one-on-one duels. Such victories embarrassed the British and raised American morale. Eventually, the British ships blockaded American’s seaports.
1. Paraphrase the paragraph above. (1-2 sentences)
Battles Along the Canadian Border
American leaders hoped to follow up victories at sea with a land invasion of Canada. Three attacks were planned – from Detroit, from Niagara Falls, and from up the Hudson River valley toward Montreal.
The attack from Detroit failed when British soldiers and Native Americans, led by Tec*mseh, captured Fort Detroit. The other American attacks failed when state militia troops refused to cross the Canadian border, arguing that they did not have to fight in a foreign country.
In 1813 the United States went on the attack again. A key goal was to break Britain’s control of Lake Erie. The U.S. Navy gave the task to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. After building a small fleet, Perry sailed out to meet the British on September 10, beginning the Battle of Lake Erie. The battle ended when the British surrendered. Perry sent a message to General William Henry Harrison: “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” Perry’s brilliant victory forced the British to withdraw, giving the U.S. Army control of the lake and new hope.
With American control of Lake Erie established, General Harrison marched his army into Canada. At the Battle of the Thames River in October 1813, he defeated a combined force of British troops and Native Americans. Harrison’s victory ended British power in the Northwest. Tec*mseh’s death during the fighting also dealt a blow to the British alliance with Native Americans in the region.
2. Analyze: Why was the Battle of Lake Erie an important American victory? (1-2 sentences)
The Creek War
Meanwhile, war with Native Americans erupted in the South. Creek Indians, angry at American settlers for pushing into their lands, took up arms in 1813. A large force attacked Fort Mims on the Alabama River, destroying the fort and killing about 250 of its defenders. In response, the commander of the Tennessee militia, Andrew Jackson, gathered about 2,000 volunteers to move against the Creek nation.
In the spring of 1814 Jackson attacked the Creek along the Tallapoosa River in Alabama. Jackson’s troops won this battle, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The Treaty of Fort Jackson, signed late in 1814, ended the Creek War and forced the Creek to give up millions of acres of land.
Despite U.S. success on the western and southern frontiers, the situation along America’s east grew worse. After defeating France in April 1814, the British sent more troops to America.
British Attacks in the East
Now reinforced, the British attacked Washington, D.C. President Madison had to flee when Britain broke through U.S. defenses. The British set fire to the White House, the Capitol, and other government buildings.
The British sailed on to Baltimore, Maryland, which was guarded by Fort McHenry. They shelled Fort McHenry for 25 hours. The Americans refused to surrender Fort McHenry. Eventually, the British chose to retreat instead of continuing to fight.
3. Evaluate: What is the most interesting information in the paragraph above? (1-2 sentences)
The Battle of New Orleans
After the attack on Washington D.C., British troops moved towards New Orleans. British commanders hoped to capture the city and take control of the Mississippi River.
4. Infer: Why would Britain want to take control of the port of New Orleans? (1-2 sentences)
Andrew Jackson commanded the U.S. forces to create a secure perimeter around New Orleans. His troops were a mix of regular soldiers – including two battalions of free African Americans – a group of Choctaw, state militia, and pirates led by Jean Lafitte.
The battle began on the morning of January 8, 1815. Some 5,300 British troops attacked Jackson’s force of about 4,500. The British began marching toward the U.S. defenses, but they were caught on an open field. The British were cut down with frightening speed. More than 2,000 British soldiers were killed or wounded. 70 Americans were killed. The Battle of New Orleans made Andrew Jackson a hero and was the last major conflict of the War of 1812.
5. Summarize: What happened at the Battle of New Orleans? (2 sentences)
Before the battle of New Orleans, a group of New England Federalists gathered secretly at Hartford, Connecticut. At the Hartford Convention, Federalists agreed to oppose the war and send delegates to meet with Congress. Before the delegates reached Washington, however, news arrived that the war had ended. Some critics now laughed at the Federalists, and the party lost much of its political power.
Slow communications at the time meant that neither the Federalists nor Jackson knew about the Treaty of Ghent. The treaty, which had been signed in Belgium on December 24, 1814, ended the War of 1812.
Though each nation returned the territory it had conquered, the fighting did have several consequences. The war produced feelings of patriotism in Americans for having stood up to the mighty British. Some even called it the second war for independence. The war also broke the power of many Native American groups. Finally, a lack of goods caused by the interruption in trade boosted American manufacturing.
6. Recall: What was the Treaty of Ghent? (1 sentence)
7. Evaluate: From America’s point of view, was the War of 1812 a success? (2-3 sentences)
8. Recall: Complete the chart below. Re-write the causes and effects of the War of 1812 in your own words.
The War of 1812
Major Causes Major Effects
____ 1. Why did the United States go to war with Britain in 1812?
(a) to strengthen the alliance between Britain and France
(b) to endanger the rights of U.S. ships on the high seas
(c) to allow British influence among Indian groups on the frontier
(d) to stop trade restrictions against merchants
____ 2. Where did most of the fighting in the War of 1812 take place?
(a) in Europe (c) in the United States
(b) in Canada (d) at sea
____ 3. Which of the following was an effect of the War of 1812?
(a) The United States defeated Spain
(b) The United States took control of Cuba
(c) The United States gained land from Canada
(d) The United States maintained its independence from Great Britain