The War of 1812 (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events, 1500-1900)

Overview

Entangled in the Napoleonic conflicts on the European continent, the reasons for fighting the War of 1812 are far from clear. Once the conflict got underway, both the United States and Great Britain waged it in great confusion and finally concluded it inconclusively. Meanwhile, the war deeply divided American sentiment, possibly more than did any other war, including Vietnam. With an overview essay providing historical background, seven essays on specific topics related to the war, biographies of the major ...

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Overview

Entangled in the Napoleonic conflicts on the European continent, the reasons for fighting the War of 1812 are far from clear. Once the conflict got underway, both the United States and Great Britain waged it in great confusion and finally concluded it inconclusively. Meanwhile, the war deeply divided American sentiment, possibly more than did any other war, including Vietnam. With an overview essay providing historical background, seven essays on specific topics related to the war, biographies of the major players, ten important primary documents, and a timeline, this book will serve as an introduction to these events, both to provide a clear understanding of them and to supply the student with major historical interpretations of the war's causes, progress, and consequences.

Renowned historians David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler put the War of 1812 in historical and social context. In addition to a general overview, other essays examine Jefferson's ineffective use of sanctions as a diplomatic tool, the difficulties a young nation had in fighting and paying for a war against a major power, U.S.-Indian relations, and the Treaty of Ghent which ended the conflict but left many issues unresolved. Detailed biographies of key players enrich the reader's understanding of the time period, and promary source documents, ranging from Madison's recommendation for war to a British soldier's description of the burning of Washington DC, and to General Andrew Jackson's account of his great victory at New Orleans bring to life the controversial and destructive nature of the War, and a selection of portraits and cartoons add a valuable visual component to this all-in-one resource guide to this forgotten war.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-As the first conflict fought after the adoption of the Constitution in 1787, the War of 1812 set established precedents that would long outlive it. This book is a complete and careful description of the causes, battles, and personalities that surrounded the war. The young country's military preparedness (a very small standing army and practically no navy) and its national unity were severely tested. Some of the New England states came close to seceding from the Union because of their virulent opposition to the war. The authors describe all of the factors that led to some of the more ignominious defeats and unexpected victories. By the time the peace treaty was signed, the United States had become more of a power in world affairs. The country was more unified and convinced of the need for a strong military. All of this is well documented here, and the book includes brief biographies of some of the major participants and some primary-source documents, such as the text of the Treaty of Ghent. Unfortunately, all of the excitement and daring of men like Andrew Jackson and Oliver Perry are reduced to academic prose that does not capture the drama of the conflict. The excellent and extensive bibliography might make this resource valuable for reports. Don Nardo's The War of 1812 (Lucent, 2000) is a more vivid account that will be more appealing to students.-David Pauli, Hillsboro Public Library, OR
Booknews
This accessible volume provides a summary of the history of the War of 1812 as well as chapters on its various aspects, including the role of Native Americans, the Ghent treaty, the campaigns in 1813, and a discussion of the policies of Jefferson and Madison. Appendices with primary documents, a glossary, and short biographies of the main figures are provided. Husband and wife authors, the Heidlers have co-authored an encyclopedia of the Civil War; Jeanne teaches history at the US Air Force Academy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

DAVID S. HEIDLER is an independent writer. He is author of Pulling the Temple Down: The Fire-eaters and the Destruction of the Union.

JEANNE T. HEIDLER is Professor of History at the United States Air Force Academy and, along with her husband David, is co-author/editor of Old Hickory's War: Andrew Jackson and the Quest for Empire, The Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, and the award-winning The Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, a Social, Political, and Military History.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Preface
Chronology of Events
Ch. 1 Historical Overview 1
Ch. 2 Thomas Jefferson's Grand Experiment: The Restrictive System and the Failure of Diplomacy 17
Ch. 3 Mr. Madison's War: Country, Congress, and the Presidency in America's First Declared War 37
Ch. 4 All Were Surprised: The Quest for Canada and the War at Sea 55
Ch. 5 "We Have Met the Enemy": The Campaigns of 1813 73
Ch. 6 Enemy of My Enemy: Native Americans in the War of 1812 87
Ch. 7 1814: The Year of Crisis 105
Ch. 8 The Treaty of Ghent 127
Biographies: The Personalities in the War of 1812 139
Primary Documents of the War of 1812 163
Glossary of Selected Terms 183
Annotated Bibliography 187
Index 207
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