The War of 1812
The War of 1812 was the new nation's first military effort to defend its sovereignty and its right to be treated as an equal in foreign relations. A number of articles written during the Civil War reflected on events during the War of 1812. One such article in the September 1861 Harper's examined the youthful military career of General Winfield Scott who, in 1861, served as General-in-Chief of the Union army. A keyword search using War of 1812 as a search term also reveals an 1850 article, "Memoir of Lewis Clover, A Prisoner of War," relating the story of a young sailor's involvement in events leading up to the war and his imprisonment.
Read the two articles cited above and look at your textbook's coverage of the War of 1812:
- The author of the article on Winfield says, "Apparent misfortunes are often mercies in disguise." What events in Winfield's life is the author referring to as "misfortunes"? Why does the author regard these events as "mercies in disguise"?
- In what campaigns during the War of 1812 was Scott involved? What information about these campaigns does the article provide that your textbook does not?
- Would you describe the article as providing a positive or negative perspective on Scott? Why might such an article have been written and published in 1861?
- What events leading up to the War of 1812 does "Memoir of Lewis P. Clover" discuss? According to the author, how did these events affect young Clover?
- Make a timeline of the events of April 6, 1815, as recounted by Clover. What does your textbook say about the events? Does your textbook include any mention of prisoners of war?
- What aspects of textbooks make reading sources such as these articles useful supplements to reading textbooks? What limits do these articles have as sources?