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[Detail] Memoirs of mammoth...Thomas Ashe 1806.

War of 1812

The War of 1812 was fought for two primary reasons: first, the British were violating U.S. sovereignty by refusing to give up forts they promised to turn over to the United States in the treaty of 1783 and by stopping American ships and forcing American seamen into the British navy (called impressment); and second, Americans hoped to take over British colonies in what is now Canada. In addition, the United States did not want an intertribal confederacy of Native Americans, headed by Tecumseh of the Shawnees, to gain too much power. After years of diplomatic disputes and battles with the Indians (who sided with the British), the U.S. Congress declared war on Great Britain in July 1812. Battles were fought in the Atlantic Ocean, around the Great Lakes and the Canadian frontier, along the coast of the United States, and in the Southern states. 

Read the short biographical sketch of William Henry Harrison, which covers the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 and the victory over British and Indian forces at the Battle of the Thames in 1813.  “Views of the Campaigns of the North-western Army” includes an account of Oliver Hazard Perry’s naval victory on Lake Erie.  For personal accounts from soldiers during the War of 1812, refer to the 1854 publication “A Journal, Containing an Accurate and Interesting Account of the Hardships, Sufferings, Battles, Defeat, and Captivity of those Heroic Kentucky Volunteers and Regulars.”

  • Is the biography of William Henry Harrison an unbiased report of his life? Cite evidence from the biography to support your answer.
  • Note that the biographical sketch of William Henry Harrison was published in 1836. Why do you think the book was published then? What did the authors hope to achieve?
  • Based on the sources in this collection, who would you say won the War of 1812? Conduct additional research to find out whether historians agree with your assessment