Canadian History for Kids!
June 18, 1812 – War of 1812 – US President James Madison asks Congress to declare war on Britain
This Canadian History for Kids exclusive looks at some interesting facts about the war of 1812!
Here are just a few interesting facts about the war of 1812!
American leaders expected that Canadians would greet them as liberators.
Political and military leaders in the United States expected that conquering Canada, a British colony with one-twentieth its population and many American-born citizens, would be, as former President Thomas Jefferson wrote, “a mere matter of marching.” Indeed, many Americans assumed that Canadians would be eager to join the United States. Rather than welcoming them with open arms, however, Canadians took up arms to successfully resist the Yankee invaders.
The War of 1812 produced its own Paul Revere, except this folk hero warned the British that the Americans were coming.
Born in Massachusetts and the daughter of a Revolutionary War patriot, Laura Secord might be an unlikely Canadian icon. But on the evening of June 21, 1813, the 37-year-old wife of a Canadian Loyalist soldier and mother of five learned of secret American plans to ambush a nearby British outpost. With her wounded husband bedridden, Secord hiked the next day through 20 miles of swamps and forests to warn the British. As a result of her trek, the Americans were routed at the Battle of Beaver Dams.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was set to the tune of an English drinking song.
Following a fierce night in Baltimore on September 14, 1814, the American flag was left fluttering over Fort McHenry. In a burst of patriotic pride, lawyer Francis Scott Key penned four verses he dubbed “Defence of Fort McHenry.” Within weeks, it was published with sheet music under a more lyrical title, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The song, which became the American national anthem in 1931, was set to the melody of an English drinking song.
Before the British set Washington, D.C., on fire, the Americans torched a capital city.
More than a year before British forces set fire to the United States national capital, American forces in 1813 sacked York (present-day Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada. After an ammunition explosion at a garrison killed 300 Americans, irate U.S. forces responded by burning York’s provincial parliament and other public buildings. A British imperial lion looted by the Americans is still possessed by the U.S. Naval Academy.
The biggest American victory came after the signing of the peace treaty.
On Christmas Eve 1814, American and British envoys in Ghent, Belgium, signed a peace treaty that would end the War of 1812. News of the Treaty of Ghent was still weeks away from arriving in the United States, however, when future President Andrew Jackson spearheaded a decisive victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. The war didn’t officially end, however, until Madison inked his name on the Senate-ratified treaty on February 17, 1815.
And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!