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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

12 Reasons to Remember the War of 1812

It's the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and even the award winning book about it is titled, "War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict."  Teachers must cover the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. At a recent history conference it was admitted this war is easily overlooked and too often indeed "Forgotten."

First a disclaimer since this will focus mainly on the Great Lakes region. I grew up in Missouri and didn't hear about this while in school. My daughters did grow up here and never had any assignments about the War of 1812.

I've discovered a dozen things crucial to this area:
  1. What started this war?
  2. This was the Northwest Territory, the frontier for the still quite young and barely United States
  3. I'd heard the phrase "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!", knew it was a political slogan, but not the role of the Battle of Tippecanoe with William Henry Harrison (Nov. 7, 1811)
  4. The surrender of Detroit by General William Hull put the whole outcome of the war in doubt immediately (Aug. 16, 1812)
  5. General Hull's nephew, Isaac Hull, on the east coast proved the fledgling Yankee fleet could defeat the British Navy with his USS Constitution, now known as Old Ironsides (Aug. 19, 1812)
  6. The massacre of wounded and surrendered soldiers at Frenchtown, now Monroe, created the rallying cry "Remember the River Raisin!" (Jan. 23, 1813) and the soldiers came mainly from Kentucky
  7. Commodore Perry took a newly built fleet and won the Battle of Lake Erie. He wrote on the back of a letter to William Henry Harrison: We have met the enemy and they are ours (Sept. 10, 1813)
  8. Tecumseh unsuccessfully tried to halt American expansion by siding with the British. When Americans retook Detroit after the Battle of Lake Erie, they crossed into Canada, found Fort Malden burned, then charged into the Battle of the Thames shouting "Remember the Raisin!", killing Tecumseh and winning the battle (Oct. 5, 1813)
  9. Dolley Madison saved White House treasures when the British burned it, but that was only part of the story (Aug. 24-25, 1814)
  10. Alexander Macomb, namesake of a local county and township, was the Hero of Plattsburgh. He stated "Fortune always favors the brave", refusing to retreat although greatly outnumbered.  He succeeded (Sept. 11, 1814)
  11. Francis Scott Key's writing "The Star-Spangled Banner" matched Yankee resistance (Sept. 14, 1814)
  12. Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans even as the final treaty was being completed. (Jan. 8, 1815) 
Next 12 Resources to Remember the War of 1812 will form the second half of this look at 12 Reasons to Remember the War of 1812.  (Some are unusual!)

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