Lead-up to the War of 1812


US History The Early Republic Lead-up to The War of 1812
Students learn about the causes of the War of 1812 and the challenges the United States faced in preparing for a war with Great Britain. Then, students write a persuasive argument supporting or opposing the war.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the causes of the War of 1812 and the challenges the United States faced in preparing for a war with Great Britain. Then, students write a persuasive argument supporting or opposing the war.

Objectives:

  • Identify the causes of the War of 1812.
  • Explain the challenges that the United States faced in preparing for war.


As the Napoleonic Wars raged in Europe, the new nation of the United States struggled to stay neutral in its dealings with France and Great Britain. The British Navy had begun a policy of boarding American trade ships in European waters and impressing (capturing) U.S. sailors, forcing them to serve on British ships—escalating the tension between the U.S. and Great Britain.




Boarding the Chesapeake, by John Christian Schetky


When the British Navy bombed the American warship U.S.S. Chesapeake, three sailors were killed. President Jefferson had had enough. He passed the Embargo Act, which he hoped would stop the British by cutting off their food and supplies. Unfortunately, the Embargo Act didn’t work in stopping the British and actually caused great economic harm to the United States.

When James Madison was elected President in 1809, he repealed the Embargo Act and tried to use diplomacy to improve relations with Britain. When these efforts failed to resolve the issues, Americans called for war. In 1812 President James Madison asked Congress to declare war against Great Britain, thereby beginning the War of 1812.

Objectives:

  • Identify the causes of the War of 1812.
  • Explain the challenges that the United States faced in preparing for war.


Think about what life was like in the year 1812. What do you think would have been some of the biggest challenges to fighting a war at that time?

Post your answer

Review your classmates’ posts and respond to at least two of them with a question or a positive comment.


Discuss with students their responses and some of the questions that students asked others. Students might reply that communication would have been difficult because of the lack of technology, weapons and war ships were rudimentary, transporting troops and supplies would have been a challenge, and injuries and disease would have been difficult to treat. Accept any reasonable answers from students.


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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in The Early Republic Unit.
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