Leading up to the War of 1812, France and Britain were at war with each other. Americans did not desire to get involved with the war, but they wanted to continue to trade with these nations, if possible. Unfortunately, relations with Britain continued to suffer as skirmishes broke out with the Indians in the Western territory. When the Indians allied with the British and the British Navy continued to intervene with American vessels, war seemed inevitable. Here are some things you should know for the War of 1812 APUSH questions you should prepare to answer.
What Was the War of 1812?
Fought between the United States and Great Britain, the War of 1812 included battles from Canada to the Western territory and Florida. Outraged with the impressment of American sailors among other things, America wanted to protect their sailors from being forced into joining the British Navy.
By going to war, Americans hoped to:
stop impressment of American sailors and the seizing of American trade ships;
end battles between Americans and Indians in the Western territory;
claim Florida from Spain, one of Great Britain’s allies.
When Did It Take Place?
Although it’s called the War of 1812, tensions grew for many years before that. Finally, Congress officially declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812.
The war ended in December 1814 with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. However, it took a while for news to spread. Consequently, the Battle of New Orleans took place in January 1815.
Why Is the War of 1812 Important?
The War of 1812 is important because it strengthened Americans’ feelings of nationalism. The war created a cohesive union, as they worked together to defeat the enemy.
It also encouraged economic independence, growth of industry within America, and the creation of a strong national army and navy.
People to Know
Henry Clay- Considered as one of the War Hawks in Congress, Henry Clay spoke about his support for the war. He was also one of the delegates sent to negotiate the terms of the Treaty of Ghent.
Andrew Jackson- Andrew Jackson led troops during the War of 1812. He quickly became a war hero after the victory at the Battle of Orleans.
Francis Scott Key- During the attack at Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key penned the “Star Spangled Banner”, which is the American National Anthem.
Federalists- Mainly comprised of New England merchants, the Federalists opposed the war. They wanted to trade with Britain. At the Hartford Convention, they talked about seceding from the U.S.
James Madison-As the President, James Madison urged Congress to declare war on the British.
William Henry Harrison– As the governor of the Indiana Territory, he led troops against the Indian confederacy in the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Tecumseh and “The Prophet”- Shawnee tribesmen, Tecumseh and his brother (known as “The Prophet”) worked to unite various tribes against the American settlers. The Prophet lost his following after the Battle of Tippecanoe, and Tecumseh joined the British in the Battle of the Thames and died in battle.
Embargo Act, December 1807- As war raged between Britain and France, President Thomas Jefferson passed the Embargo Act to stop trade between both nations. This happened after the British Navy fired on the American vessel, the Chesapeake, and seized four sailors. The Embargo Act hurt the American economy since most trade occurred with these two nations.
Battle of Tippecanoe, Fall 1811– Governor William Henry Harrison led troops against a confederacy of all the Indian tribes west of the Mississippi. The Americans won, pushing many Indians to seek help from the British.
Battles at Washington, August 1814- British forces landed in Chesapeake Bay and proceeded to march on Washington. They burned several public buildings, including the Capitol and the White House, on August 24, 1814.
Battle at Fort McHenry; September 13, 1814- Fort McHenry, located in Baltimore, withstood 25 hours of bombardment from the British. As the flag remained standing, it inspired Francis Scott Key’s poem.
1. Which of the following statements are NOT true about the Battle of New Orleans?
a. Andrew Jackson led the troops into battle and emerged as a hero.
b. The British were forced to surrender and ultimately lost the war.
c. The battle took place after the war had ended.
d. It was a major win for Americans, creating great feelings of patriotism.
Answer: C. Although the British were defeated in the Battle of New Orleans, the win did not impact the results of the war. This is especially true since the war ended over a month before the battle occurred.
2. Why did Americans want to go to war against the British in the War of 1812?
a. The British were at war with France, who was one of America’s greatest allies.
b. Americans were angry with the British for firing on their ships and capturing their sailors.
c. Several British settlements were created on land claimed by Americans along the Western frontier.
d. The British refused to trade with American merchants, which destroyed the American economy.
Answer: B. Americans were angry with impressment of American sailors and the firing on American ships when Britain was at war with France.
Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!
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