Dbq Essay War Of 1812


Name ________________________________________________ Date _______________________ Class __________

Historical Context:

In 1812, only 29 years after the American Revolution, the United States found itself again at war with GreatBritain. The threat of war had been brewing for some time, and this War of 1812 was not unexpected. Since the 1790s,America

s leaders had tried to avoid being drawn into a series of wars between France and Britain. In 1793 PresidentWashington issued a proclamation of neutrality asking his countrymen to be impartial toward both Britain and France.In 1800 President Adams agreed to the Convention of 1800. This ended the alliance America had formed with Franceduring the American Revolution, an alliance which now threatened to draw America into Europe

s wars. FollowingAdams, President Jefferson continued to steer clear of war with France and Britain. However, when both countriesviolated American trading rights, with Britain often stopping American ships, seizing cargoes, and kidnapping sailors (apractice called


), Jefferson called for a total embargo (or ban) on American trading. Unfortunately, this

Embargo of 1807

failed to force the European powers to respect our rights, and severely harmed our own economy,throwing thousands of merchants, shippers, and sailors out of work. When James Madison became president in 1809, hefound himself facing the same problem: How could we force Britain and France to respect our rights on the high seaswithout being forced to war? Finally, after three years of failed diplomatic efforts, Madison asked Congress to declarewar on Great Britain.


The following question is based on the accompanying documents (1-8). As you analyze the documents, takeinto account both the source of the document and the author 


s point of view. Be sure to:1.

Carefully read the document-based question. Consider what you already know about this topic. Howwould you answer the question if you had no documents to examine?2.

 Now, read each document carefully, underlining key phrases and words that address the document-based question. You may also wish to use the margin to take brief notes. Answer the questions which follow eachdocument.3.

 Based on your own knowledge and on the information found in the documents, formulate a thesis that directly answers the question.4.

Organize supportive and relevant information into a brief outline.5.

Write a well-organized essay proving your thesis. The essay should be logically presented and should include information both from the documents and from your own knowledge outside of the documents.

Part A. The following documents address the factors that led America into the war with Britain in 1812.Examine each document carefully, and answer the question or questions that follow.Document 1

In November 1811, the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. House of Representatives reported on ournation

s growing conflict with France and Britain. In the following excerpt, the report explains our complaints againstBritain. (From

 Annals of the Congress of the United States

, Twelfth Congress.)1.

According to this congressional report, what was America

’s major complaint against Great Britain?

The New Nation: The War of 1812 DBQ


What forces led Americans to declare war on Britain in 1812?

To sum up, in a word, the great causes of complaint against Great Britain, your committee need only say, that theUnited States, as a sovereign and independent Power, claim the right to use the ocean, which is the common andacknowledged highway of nations, for the purposes of transporting, in their own vessels, the products of their ownsoil and the acquisitions of their own industry

Great Britain, in defiance of this incontestable (clear and certain)right, captures every American vessel bound to, or returning from, a port where her commerce is not favored;enslaves our seamen, and in spite of our (complaints and protests), preserves in these aggressions.

War Of 1812 Dbq Essay

The War of 1812 was a war that lasted for two years that helped the United States to firmly and officially establish its independence. After finishing with the concern of France, England turned its attention over to the United States. At first, the United States did not want to resort to war and fighting (Doc. B) but rather sort out their issues economically--because England had seized all ships that did not stop in the British port before heading to their other European destinations, Congress passed the Embargo Act and then the Non-Intercourse Act, allowing trade with all nations except France and England. Then, England refused to allow this trade to occur, so America had to resort to war. The Northeastern Federalists were not in favor of war, but the Republicans ultimately won the majority vote in Congress to declare war--the War of 1812 (Doc. G). During this war, America was very concerned with gaining control over land in this country as well as in Canada, but at the same time Americans needed to defend themselves against their strong British enemies. Either way, America had to abandon its position of neutrality (Doc. C).

During the war, Britain was very effective in fighting the Americans during many battles, so we needed to defend ourselves in every way possible, and often we were successful. In addition, America wanted to take revenge on the British for taking people from American ships and forcing them to work in the British Navy. The British were able to make their way via water to Washington, D.C. and burn down many parts of the city. After weakening the capital, they set off to Baltimore Harbor but Fort McHenry had already blocked their path, so the British actually had to attack from afar, which ended up not being so effective. America also blocked the British from success in the Battle of Plattsburgh. The United States was successful in capturing Lake Ontario and Lake Eerie, causing them to have very easy access to Canada. By being able to enter Canada, William Henry Harrison led the soldiers to kill Tecumseh in the Battle of Thames, making this a great victory over the Native Americans. This does seem like an unnecessary battle done completely out of greed for control, but the defeat of the Creeks (allies of Tecumseh) in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend was helpful for the Americans in that Andrew Jackson led his men to destroy the tribe because they had been attacking whites along the Floridian border, and we...

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