Focus Question: What were the causes and effects of the War of 1812? The Move Toward War
*James Madison took office in 1809. Tensions were high with Britain. Americans were angry at Britain for arming Native Americans in the Northwest and for the continued impressment of American sailors.
*Americans felt a sense of American nationalism (pride in one’s country/patriotism).
*1810 – Two nationalists, Henry Clay of KY and John C. Calhoun of SC became leaders in the House of Representatives.
*Clay, Calhoun, and supporters were called war hawks – those who were eager for war with Britain.
*Most of the people in New England opposed war with Britain because they believed it would affect American trade.
*1812 – Britain told US they would continue impressing sailors and Native Americans in NW began new attacks on frontier settlements. In June, Congress declared war on Britain. Early Days of the War
*Britain was still at war in Europe but was unwilling to meet American demands to avoid war.
*Providing Native Americans with support protected Canada from American expansion.
*Although US expected to win, Jefferson’s spending cuts had weakened its military strength.
*Britain set up blockade (shutting a port or road to prevent people or supplies from entering or exiting an area) of the American coast. By the end of the war, Britain had closed off all America’s ports.
*Aug. 1812 – USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) defeated British warship Guerriere. The War in the West and South
*Americans and British fought for control of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Both had Native American allies.
Invasion of Canada
*War hawks demanded an invasion of Canada, believing Canada would welcome the chance to stop British rule.
*July 1812 – General William Hull led American troops from Detroit to Canada but soon retreated.
*British commander General Isaac Brock led British troops and Native Americans, surrounded Hull’s soldiers, and forced it to surrender. This was a serious defeat for the US.
*On Lake Erie, American forces did better. Both sides wanted control of Lake Erie. In a three-hour battle at Put-in-Bay, American commander Oliver Hazard Perry led the battle and announced his victory with “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
*With the Americans in control of Lake Erie, the British were forced to leave Detroit and retreat back into Canada.
*Summer 1813 – Creek warriors attacked southern American settlements. Andrew Jackson took command of the GA forces and defeated the Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March 1814. The treaty ending the fighting forced the Creeks to give up millions of acres of land. Final Battles
*1814 – Britain defeated Napoleon. Britain could send more troops to US to fight Americans.
The British Attack Washington and Baltimore
*British strategy was to attack nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
*1814 – As British were marching into D.C., Dolley Madison, President’s wife, gathered important papers and paintings in the White House and fled. The British set fire to several government buildings, including the White House and the Library of Congress. Americans learned the army could not defend Washington.
*From Washington, D.C., the British moved on to Baltimore, MD. Their first objective was to capture Fort McHenry which defended the city’s harbor. British warships bombarded the fort throughout the night.
*At dawn, when Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer detained on a British ship, saw the American flag still flying, he wrote a poem called “The Star-Spangled Banner”. In 1931 – Congress made the poem (by now set to music) the national anthem of the United States.
The War Ends
*British were tired of war. The Treaty of Ghent (signed at Ghent, Belgium) was signed on Christmas Eve, 1814. The treaty returned things to the way they had been before the war.
*Before news of the treaty reached the US, Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans.
*There was opposition to the War of 1812 within the US. As the war went on, Federalists criticized Democratic-Republican Madison. Northerners in particular were angry because the blockade disrupted New England trade.
*Dec. 1814 – a group of Federalists met in Hartford, CT, and suggested the New England states secede (withdraw) from the US. While they debated, news of the treaty reached the US and the debate ended.
*War of 1812 sometimes referred to as “Second War of Independence”. Finally, US secured independence from Britain. European nations would now have to treat the young nation with respect. Pride brought the confidence of Americans to a new height. CAUSES of the War of 1812
*U.S. manufacturing grew as they had to make items they could not longer get through trade Review Questions *In what regions of the US was the support for war with Britain the strongest? The South and the West
*Why was the US unprepared for war? Its military was small and underfunded.
*What is the connection between the Battle of Lake Erie and the Battle of the Thames? Americans won control of Lake Erie and followed the British into Canada, defeating them at the Battle of the Thames.
*What was the purpose of the Hartford Convention? To decide if New England should secede from the United States