On June 1, 1812, the United States of America declared war on the British. Several international factors led President James Madison to declare war after years of failed negotiations and laws aimed at preventing another conflict with the British.
Early in the war, the United States launched a series of attacks in hopes of attaining a quick victory; unfortunately, they were met with strong British resistance in Canada. In August 1814, the British set fire to the Capitol building and the White House in Washington, D.C. The British attacked Baltimore in September.
In Baltimore Harbor, Fort McHenry endured over twenty-four hours of bombing but did not surrender to the British, who withdrew their attack. During the attack, Francis Scott Key penned his famous poem "The Star-Spangled Banner," known today as the national anthem of the United States.
The War of 1812 came to end in 1815 with the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent. The war produced many famous generals, politicians, and presidents, but arguably the most recognizable remnant of the War of 1812 is "The Star-Spangled Banner," written by Francis Scott Key.
- The United States has chosen writings, material artifacts, and historic sites to identify a common cultural heritage.
- Historical causation involves motives, reasons, and consequences that result in events and actions.
- Analyze historical causation for a specific event.
- Explain why certain writings, oral traditions, material artifacts, architecture, and historic places have been maintained in the present and given for the benefits of future generations.
A variety of traditional assessment styles can be applied to this unit. Traditional assessments can include a variety of quizzes (multiple choice or fill in), an essay, or a short paper highlighting all three documents. Primary sources may also be incorporated into a larger paper, student presentation, or class discussion led by student based questions. An alternative for those students who are unfamiliar with primary sources may be assessing notes taken during the reading to be used later as an open-notebook quiz.
The unit and lesson plan are a part of Preserving American Freedom, which presents and interprets fifty of the treasured documents within the vast catalog of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In this project, documents are digitized with transcriptions and annotations, as well as with other user-friendly elements, that will help both teachers and students to better understand the materials in the lesson.
The Freedom Teacher Fellow was funded through a Bank of America grant for the digital history project Preserving American Freedom.