First Invasion The War of 1812


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First Invasion: The War of 1812 is a dramatic and engaging introduction to the many phases of this war, from its declaration through the climactic Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Several battles and skirmishes took place in the first two years of the war as an ill-prepared U.S. military suffered few victories and ample defeats. Just as the conflict seemed destined to decline in intensity, however, the British resolved their war with France, freeing up their resources for a new drive to seize control of the North American economy. As the British invaded the capital and set the White House afire in 1814, the United States was in serious jeopardy. The nation rose to the challenge in the city of Baltimore as military units and dedicated privateers repelled the British after an unrelenting bombardment at Fort McHenry. The sight of the American flag waving boldly in Baltimore Harbor inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to what would become the national anthem. After a final victory in the Battle of New Orleans, The Treaty of Ghent was ratified and the War of 1812 was officially over. No territory was conceded on either
side, and many of the issues which drove the onset of the war had been resolved by the time it was concluded. But for the United States, the war was a momentous victory, uniting the citizens of this foundling nation and imprinting in the eyes of the world the strength and resilience of its pledge for independence. This compelling program invites students to consider the War of 1812 as a critical chapter in the process of American identity formation as the nation turned inward to define itself anew.