10. 5 The War of 1812 Main Idea

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US History

Fort Burrows

10.5 -- The War of 1812

Main Idea:

Although neither Great Britain not the United States won the War of 1812, Americans proved that their republic would remain independent.


Battle of Lake Erie - an American victory, in War of 1812, led by Oliver Perry against the British

Battle of New Orleans - at the end of the War of 1812, a battle between British and

American forces that ended in an American victory

Hartford Convention - gathering of New England delegates during the War of 1812

to protest the war by threatening to secede from the Union

Treaty of Ghent - peace treaty signed by Britain and the US at the end of

the War of 1812

Setting the Scene:

Many Americans welcomed the news of war with Britain. In some cities, they fired cannons and guns and danced in the street. A Republican newspaper published this poem:

“Since war is the word, let us strain every nerve

To save our America, her glory increase;

So shoulder your firelock, your county preserve,

For the hotter the war, boys, the quicker the peace.”

War poem, quoted in The Oxford History of the American People, (Morison)

Other Americans were less enthusiastic. New Englanders, especially, talked scornfully of ‘Mr. Madison’s War.’ In fact, before the war ended, some New Englanders would threaten to leave the Union.

¿¿ Which group in Congress would agree with this quote ?


Early Days of the War

The Americans declaration of war took the British by surprise

Britain was locked in a battle with Napoleon and could not spare troops to fight the US – the US faced difficulties of its own

Unprepared for War

 The US was not ready for war!

Jefferson had reduced spending on defense

- navy had only 16 ships against the powerful British fleet

- army was small and ill equipped

- many officers knew little about warfare

There were few regular troops so the gov’t relied on volunteers

Congress voted to give them a bounty of land and cash equal to about a year’s salary for most workers

Attracted by high pay and a chance to own their own farms, young men eagerly enlisted

They were poorly trained and had little experience so many deserted

Fighting at Sea

British navy blockaded American ports to stop American trade

US sea captain were unable to break the blockade but won some victories

One famous battle took place early in the war, August 1812. As he was sailing near New Foundland, Isaac Hull, captain of the USS Constitution, spotted the British ship, HMS Guerriere. For nearly an hour, the two ships jockeyed for position. At last, the guns of the Constitution roared into action. They tore holes in the sides of the Guerriere and shot off both masts. Stunned the British captain had not choice but to surrender. American sea captains won other victories at sea which cheered Americans but did little to win the war.

War in the West
One goal of the War Hawks was to conquer Canada because they were convinced that Canadians would welcome the chance to throw off British rule and join US

Invasion of Canada

General William Hull moved US troops into Canada from Detroit

The Canadians only had a few untrained troops to ward off the invasion but were led by a clever British general, Isaac Brock

Brock paraded his soldiers in red coats to make it appear that experienced British troops and a large number of Indians were helping the Canadians

Brock’s scare tactics worked – Hull retreated from Canada and future attempts to invade also failed

Battle of Lake Erie

In 1813, Americans set out to win control of Lake Erie

Captain Oliver Hazard Perry had no fleet, so he designed and built

his own ships

In September 1813, Perry sailed his tiny fleet against the British

In the Battle of Lake Erie, the British battered Perry’s own ship, Lawrence

Perry rowed over to another US ship, Niagara, and continued to fight

Americans won the Battle of Lake Erie and Perry wrote his message of victory on an envelope: “We have met the enemy and they are ours”
Native American Losses

After losing control of Lake Erie, the British and ally Tecumseh retreated from Detroit to Canada

General William Henry Harrison pursued them

Americans won a decisive victory at the Battle of Thames

Tecumseh died in the fighting and his Indian confederation fell apart

The Creeks continued their fight against settlers in the South

Andrew Jackson took command of American troops in the Creek War

In 1814, with the help of the Cherokees, Jackson won a crushing victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend

The leader of the Creeks surrendered to Jackson saying,

Your people have destroyed my nation”

Final Battles
In 1814, Britain and its allies defeated France so Britain could now send more troops and ships to the US
The British Burn Washington

In August 1814, British ships sailed into Chesapeake Bay and landed an invasion force about 30 miles from Washington, D. C.

American troops met the British at Bladensburg, Maryland

The battle-hardened British quickly scattered the untrained Americans

The British met little resistance as they marched towards the capital

First Lady Dolley Madison waited at the White House for her husband to return and wrote this letter to her sister:

Will you believe it, my sister? We have had a battle or skirmish near Bladensburg and here I am still within sound of the cannon! Mr. Madison comes not.

May GOD protect us. Two messengers covered with dust come bid me fly. But here I mean to wait for him.”

Dolley Madison, Memoirs and Letters of Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison gathered up important papers and a portrait of GW and fled

The British set fire to the White House and other buildings

They marched north toward Fort McHenry in Baltimore

The British rockets bombarded the harbor all night

When the morning fog lifted, the American flag still waved over Fort McHenry

The British withdrew at the Battle of Baltimore

Francis Scott Key wrote a poem about the battle called the ‘Star Spangled Banner’

Battle of New Orleans

In late 1814, the British prepared to attack New Orleans and sail up the Mississippi River

Andrew Jackson was waiting with a strong army of his frontier fighters

Jackson’ s forces included thousands of frontiersmen and Choctaw Indians

Citizens of New Orleans volunteered to join Jackson’s troops including hundreds of African Americans

American soldiers used trench warfare to defend themselves

On January 8, 1815, the British attacked New Orleans

More than 2,000 British fell under the deadly fire of sharpshooters and American cannons – only 7 Americans died

Americans cheered the victory at the Battle of New Orleans

Andrew Jackson became a national hero overnight

His fame did not dim when Americans learned the battle had taken place two

weeks AFTER the war ended!

US and Britain had already signed a treaty in Europe!

¿ ¿ What victories did the American forces win in the South ?

turn to page 323 and use the Map/Chart to answer this question.

African Americans in the War
The Battle of New Orleans was not the only place where black and white

soldiers fought side by side

After British attacks on Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, African Americans

volunteered to help defend Philadelphia

The State of NY organized two regiments of black volunteers to serve in army

African Americans also served with distinction in the US Navy

They helped win the Battle of Lake Erie and other naval battles

Commander Shaler praised one particular black sailor killed in battle:
He fell near me, and several times requested to be thrown

overboard, saying he was only in the way of others. When

America has such sailors, she has little to fear from the tyrants of the ocean.”

Nathaniel Shaler, letter to his agent, January 1, 1813

Protest and Peace
In the early 1800s, news took weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean

By late 1814, Americans knew peace talks had begun but didn’t know if they would succeed or last

As Jackson prepared to fight the Battle of New Orleans, New Englanders were meeting to protest “Mr. Madison’s War”
New Englanders Protest

The British blockade had hurt New England’s sea trade

New England also feared that the US might win Florida and Canada

If new states were carved out of these lands, the South and West would become more influential than New England

In December 1814, delegates around New England met in Hartford,


Most were Federalists and they disliked the Republican President and war

The delegates to the Hartford Convention threatened to leave the Union if the

war continued

While debating secession, news of the peace treaty arrived and the

Convention ended quickly

The threat of secession further weakened the dying Federalist party

Nothing Was Settled
A peace treaty was signed in Ghent, Belgium on December 24, 1814

John Quincy Adams summed up the Treaty of Ghent in one sentence:

Nothing was adjusted, nothing was settled”
Britain and the US agreed to restore prewar conditions

The treaty said nothing about impressments or neutrality as these issues

faded due to the end of the wars in Europe

Other issues were settled later – dispute over a border between Canada and

the US was settled in 1818

Looking back, many Americans felt the War of 1812 had been a mistake

Others argued that Europe would now treat the young republic with more respect

Heroes, like Oliver Hazard Perry, William Henry Harrison and Andrew Jackson gave Americans pride in their country

 “The people are now more American. They feel and act more as a nation”
¿ ¿ What were the results of the War of 1812 ?


1. How was the United States unprepared early in the war ?


2. What successes did Americans have in the West ?


3. How did the final battles of the war progress ?


4. Why did New Englanders protest against the war ?


of 10.5 Printer Copy

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880 -> Main Idea: As a result of the Mexican war, the United States expanded its borders to the Pacific Ocean

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