The War of 1812 Classroom Activities by Scholastic SC-0439385199-938519

The War of 1812 Westward Expansion/Industrial Growth Activity

The History

In 1812, President Madison declared war against Great Britain. Madison was angry with the British for two reasons. First, they were capturing American trading ships, kidnapping American sailors, and forcing them to work in the British Navy. Second, the British were refusing to leave their forts on America’s frontier. This conflict was called The War of 1812, even though fighting went on until 1815. The most devastating blow came when the British marched into Washington and burned the Capitol Building and the White House. Then they set their sights on Baltimore.

Baltimore Harbor was guarded by star-shaped Fort McHenry. Earlier in the war, Mary Pickersgill, a Baltimore flag maker, had sewn a huge American flag to fly over the fort. It was 42 feet by 30 feet and had 15 stripes and 15 stars.

WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity

Sample PDF Activity

When the British sailed into the harbor, they were met by a boat waving the white flag of truce. On this boat was Francis Scott Key, a Washington lawyer who’d been sent to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Key got an American doctor released, but their truce ship was not allowed to return until the fighting was over.

All night long, the British pounded Fort McHenry with canon balls. The attack continued the next day and through a second night. At dawn the following morning, Key was thrilled to see the American flag still flying over the battered fort, and he put some words on paper. His poem was published in Baltimore. It was called, “The Defense of Fort McHenry.” Soon people were singing Key’s words, and the song was given a new title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Assignment
Look up the meaning of the words ramparts and perilous. And realize that O’er is a way of saying over. Then read the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Oh! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Draw the scene of the bombs bursting over Fort McHenry, the flag flying, and the ships in the harbor. Write phrases from the song at appropriate places to label your drawing.

Possible Title
The Creation of the U.S. National Anthem

From Read Draw Remember American History Activities by Scholastic SC-0439385199-938519

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