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HIST313: War and American Society

Unit 2: 1812 - The Second War for American Independence   The American Revolution secured American political independence from Great Britain, and a generation later, the War of 1812 reaffirmed that the young nation would remain free from British imperial domination and continue to assert its rights as an independent country.  Americans objected to British mistreatment of American ships and sailors, as well as Britain’s continued economic and political support of militant Indian tribes throughout the Old Northwest.  The war was not universally popular in the United States; during the middle of the conflict, some New Englanders even threatened secession if the conflict continued.  The conflict tested America’s young military and highlighted the weaknesses of its volunteer militia forces.  It also demonstrated the importance of a strong navy, since Great Britain effectively blockaded much of the American coast during the war and used ship-borne troops to capture Washington, D.C. and threaten Baltimore.  The war ended in late 1814 with a negotiated peace treaty that maintained the status quo ante bellum, but Andrew Jackson’s surprising victory in early 1815 against British regulars at the Battle of New Orleans restored American pride in her military abilities and national strength.  In this unit, we will focus on the origins of the conflict and examine how each side pursued wartime objectives.  We will also examine the social impact of the War of 1812 on the American people and look at the lessons it offered American military leaders for generations to come.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 8.75 hours to complete.

☐    Introduction: 5.5 hours

☐    Subunits 2.1 – 2. 3: 25 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain how the War of 1812 solidified America’s political and social identity in the early 19th century.

  • Reading: Wikibooks: U.S. History: “War, Nationalism, and Division” Link: Wikibooks: U.S. History:War, Nationalism, and Division” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage to better understand the causes, conduct, and consequences of the War of 1812.  This reading addresses subunits 2.1 through 2.7
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikibooks version of this article here (HTML).

  • Lecture: C-SPAN/Tattered Cover Bookstore: “1812: The War that Forged a Nation” Link: C-SPAN/Tattered Cover Bookstore: “1812: The War that Forged a Nation” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire 45-minute debate to better understand the importance of the War of 1812.  This lecture addresses subunits 2.1 through 2.7.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: C-SPAN/Monticello: “The Civil War of 1812” Link: C-SPAN/Monticello: “The Civil War of 1812    (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire 50-minute debate to better understand the causes and importance of the War of 1812.  Please note this resource covers material for subunits 2.1 through 2.7.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: C-SPAN: American Presidents: “Life Portrait of James Madison” Link: C-SPAN: American Presidents:Life Portrait of James Madison” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire video (about 1 ½ hours) to better understand James Madison’s policies regarding the War of 1812.  This lecture addresses subunits 2.1 through 2.7.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: PBS: American Experience: “Dolley Madison” Link: PBS: American Experience:Dolley Madison” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire 90-minute documentary to better understand the context of the War of 1812 as understood by President James Madison’s wife, Dolley.  This website hosts an entire series of documentaries produced by the PBS program American Experience.  This documentary addresses subunits 2.1 through 2.7. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1 The European Context   - Reading: Wikibooks: European History: “Napoleon Bonaparte and the Rise of Nationalism” & “The Age of Revolutions” Link: Wikibooks: European History:Napoleon Bonaparte and the Rise of Nationalism” (PDF) & “The Age of Revolutions” (PDF)
 
Instructions: These textbook chapters addresses subunits 2.1.  Please read the texts in order to get a sense of the progress of the relationship between political and economic developments in Europe and the War of 1812 in the United States.
 
Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikibooks version of these articles here (HTML) and here(HTML).

2.1.1 French Revolution   - Web Media: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part I)” Link: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part I)” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Please watch the above video (approx. 17 minutes).
 The French Revolution began in May 1789 with the meeting of the
Estates-General—a general assembly representing the three French
estates of the realm: the nobility, the church, and the common
people.  Summoned by King Louis XVI to propose solutions to his
government’s financial problems, the Estates-General sat for several
weeks in May and June 1789 but came to an impasse as the three
estates clashed over their respective powers.  It was brought to an
end when many members of the Third Estate formed themselves into a
National Assembly, signaling the outbreak of the Revolution.  On
July 14 of that same year, the Bastille—a medieval fortress and
prison which represented royal authority in the center of Paris—was
stormed by a mob that demanded the arms and ammunition stored there.
   

 Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to the Khan Academy.
  • Web Media: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part 2)” Link: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part 2)” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the above video (approx. 15 minutes), which discusses the second stage of the French Revolution.  After Louis XV and his wife tried to escape Paris in 1791, the French revolutionary wars began soon thereafter; however, fighting soon went badly and prices rose sky-high. In August 1792,a mob assaulted the Royal Palace in Paris and arrested the King.  In September, the Assembly abolished the monarchy and declared a republic.  
     
    Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.  It is attributed to the Khan Academy. 

  • Web Media: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part 3) –Reign of Terror” Link: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part 3)—Reign of Terror” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please watch the above video (approx. 23 minutes) on the “Reign of Terror,” a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions and marked by mass executions of “enemies of the revolution.”  The death toll ranged in the tens of thousands, with 16,594 executed by guillotine and another 25,000 in summary executions across France.  

    Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.  It is attributed to the Khan Academy.

2.1.2 Rise of Napoleon   - Web Media: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part 4)—The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte” Link: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution (Part 4)—The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please watch the above video (approx. 17 minutes), which discusses the last stages of the French Revolution and how Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate.  Napoleon rose to power under the French First Republic, which formed at the end of the French Revolution, proclaimed himself dictator, and eventually, emperor under the First French Empire in 1804.  
 
Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.  It is attributed to the Khan Academy. 

2.1.3 British Efforts to Restrict Trade With Continental Europe   2.1.4 American Efforts to Remain Neutral   2.2 Great Britain and the United States in North America   2.2.1 Impressments of American Sailors   2.2.2 British Support of Native Americans in the Old Northwest   2.2.3 Chesapeake Affair   2.2.4 Diplomatic Disputes   2.3 American Offensives   2.3.1 Lack of American Military Preparation   2.3.2 Reliance on Civilian Militias   2.3.3 Regional Opposition to the War   2.3.4 American Invasion of Canada, 1812-1913   2.3.5 Privateering and Naval Actions   - Reading: Yale Law School: Lillian Goldman Law Library: The Avalon Project’s “An Act to Encourage the Destruction of Armed Vessels of War of the Enemy,” March 3, 1813 Link: Yale Law School: Lillian Goldman Law Library: The Avalon Project’s “An Act to Encourage the Destruction of Armed Vessels of War of the Enemy,” March 3, 1813 (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this brief text in order to get a sense of Congress' attitude toward privateers during the War of 1812. This Congressional act authorized private citizens to use any means necessary to destroy British naval vessels.  It offered a bounty of half the value of the vessel and half the value of the cargo to any American civilian who could complete the task.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 British Offensives   2.4.1 Preoccupied by War in Europe   2.4.2 Canadian Militias Bore Brunt of Action in Early Stages of Conflict   2.4.3 Blockade of American Ports   2.4.4 Battle of Lake Erie   2.5 America on the Defense   2.5.1 British Campaign in the Chesapeake   2.5.2 Assault on Washington, D.C.   2.5.3 Assault on Baltimore   2.5.4 Defeat of British in the Chesapeake   2.5.5 Hartford Convention—New England and Secession   2.6 Status Quo Ante Bellum   2.6.1 Negotiated Settlement   2.6.2 Did Not Resolve Conditions That Led to War   2.6.3 Battle of New Orleans, 1815   2.6.4 Final American Victory After War’s End   2.7 Importance of the War of 1812   2.7.1 Viewed as Second War for Independence   2.7.2 American Pride in Military Abilities   2.7.3 Support for Expansion of U.S. Navy   2.7.4 Recognition of Limitations of Volunteer Militias   2.7.5 Increasing Support for Development of Professional Army