Historical Scene Investigations

subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link
subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link
subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link
subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link
subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link
subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

How close was Connecticut to becoming the center of rebellion
during what many historians call the “Second War of Independence?”

The Case

The War of 1812 openly divided the North and the South long before the Civil War. Northern states, particularly those in New England, were staunchly against the war since it ruined their economies by severely limiting northern states from trade. Southern states, which built their economies on agriculture, supported the war as necessary to end the British practice of impressment (kidnapping American sailors off military or merchant ships and “pressing” them into service in the British navy), to force the British to vacate western forts that threatened American expansion, and to reaffirm the young nation’s right to exist.

Against the wishes of New England states and the Federalist Party which dominated them, President James Madison convinced Congress, then led by the Democratic-Republican Party (which evolved into today’s Democratic Party), to declare war. However, the inexperienced U.S. was vastly unprepared for such a military undertaking, which led to humiliating early defeats, the most notable of which was the burning of the White House and Capitol building during the British siege of a largely abandoned Washington, D.C.

Though often overlooked by history books, Connecticut did not escape British attack. The British Raid on Essex along the Connecticut River was the worst U.S. sailing loss of the entire war and the Battle of Stonington produced the only 16-star, 16-stripe flag in U.S. History.

With reports of devastating destruction from the Great Lakes region all the way to the nation’s capital and continuing economic hardship, representatives of the five New England states met in Hartford, Connecticut to plan a response (Maine was five years away from separating from Massachusetts).  Among the 26 in attendance at the convention were Connecticut’s Roger Minott Sherman (named for his more famous uncle and founding father, Roger Sherman) and  James Hillhouse (of New Haven high school fame),  Massachusetts’s William Prescott Jr. (son of a Battle of Bunker Hill hero),  and Vermont’s lone representative, William Hall Jr. In all, 19 of the 26 came from either Massachusetts or Connecticut.

What must it have been like to be living in depression-like conditions in Connecticut due to a war state residents overwhelmingly opposed? How did children cope with uncertain economic futures for their families and themselves? Since Connecticut became the first state to nullify the federal government when the governor refused the president’s request to supply men for the military, how difficult was it for Connecticut and other New England states to coexist with the federal government? After feeling the brunt of the English navy, how willing were Connecticut residents and politicians to continue the fight? Would Connecticut and other New England states rather go it alone?

Your job is to investigate the War of 1812 and the coinciding Hartford Convention, while focusing on the primary question:  How close was Connecticut to becoming the center of rebellion during what many historians call the “Second War of Independence?”

 

Becoming a Detective:

First, read your U.S. History textbook’s section on the War of 1812 for background knowledge.

Secondly, with a partner, compare the information from your textbook to the entries for the War of 1812 found on Wikipedia online (Handout 1). Create a list of what both sources list in common and what each source reports exclusively.

With a partner, complete the interaction chart to list the relationships/issues between the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, and native tribes (Handout 2). This is a chance to use new vocabulary.

Using the textbook and Wikipedia entries on the War of 1812 and the interaction chart, create a list of 10 events that would draw the most anger from New Englanders. Compare your list with others’ in the class to create the “Top 10 Reasons New Englanders Were Upset by the War of 1812.”

To learn about the British Raid on Essex in 1814, read the history of the event (Handout 7) and then play the British Raid on Essex board game using Handouts 8, 9, 10, and 11. To learn about the Battle of Stonington, take a video tour of landmarks by using this internet link: http://www.theday.com/article/20120625/MEDIA0102/120629896/0/media03.

To hear the song Battle of Stonington by Tom Callinan performed in its entirety, use this link: http://www.theday.com/article/20120625/MEDIA0102/120629895/0/rss.  (DVDs of these videos may be purchased from The Day newspaper of New London at www.theday.com/dvd.)

Write a letter to your U.S. History textbook publisher that advocates the next edition of the textbook include the British Raid on Essex and the Battle of Stonington in its coverage of The War of 1812. Be sure to use evidence from the board game and videos to defend your position.

As a form of literary review of the entire War of 1812, you will be given a few stanzas of the poem, Old England Forty Years Ago by Silas Ballou (Handout 6). Draw one picture that encompasses the stanzas assigned for homework. To review the homework the next day, the teacher will read the entire poem and when you hear your stanzas, take your place in line around the room. By the end, all students should be standing in the correct order with a collective artistic rendition of the poem.  Next, you will read your stanzas in the appropriate order for a second reading of the poem. When finished, compare and contrast the historical information in the poem with previous learning in the unit, as well as language usage.

Finally, select one of the 26 delegates to the Hartford Convention (Handout 5).  Using the internet, research your delegate’s personal, professional, and political background (this could take a class period or two). You will portray this delegate in the culminating activity, a mock Hartford Convention.

Investigating the Evidence:

Examine the internet sources used to provide background on your delegate to the Hartford Convention.  Cite specific evidence from your delegate’s background to analyze how he would vote on the tenets of the Hartford Convention:

  • the need for New England states to defend themselves
  • the three-fifths representation advantage of the South
  • two-thirds Congressional majority for declaration of war
  • future presidential terms
  • trade embargos
  • presidential predecessors
  • secession.

Searching for Clues:

Check the credibility of your information by determining if it’s a primary or secondary source; if it’s a secondary source, review the qualifications of the person who provided the information and judge whether those qualifications make the information credible.

For each of the internet sources, answer the following questions:

  • What type of document is this?
  • Who authored the document?
  • When was the document created?
  • Who was the audience for the document?
  • Why was it created?

Cracking the Case:

Hold a mock Hartford Convention. Begin by having each delegate state and explain “his” position on each of the tenets. Ask other delegates to listen intently and prepare questions/counterpoints for the free-for-all debate session that follows. Allow an appropriate amount of time for the debate session (if it’s going well, students are on task, and you can afford the time, this could be done over a couple of classes). When the debate has run its course, call the question for a vote and record the results.

Read your U.S. History textbook’s section on the Hartford Convention (if any). Then, with a partner, compare the information from your textbook to the entries for the Hartford Convention found on Wikipedia online (Handout 3). Create a list of what both sources list in common and what each source reports exclusively.

Compare the results of the mock Hartford Convention with what actually happened as reported in your textbook and/or the Wikipedia entry. List similarities and differences but remember to tap higher-level thinking by requiring students to explain why there were similarities and differences.

To complete the unit, have students while portraying the delegate they chose write a letter home announcing “his” impending arrival. In the letter, students should provide a brief summary of what they experienced at the Hartford Convention and conclude the letter by answering the unit’s question: How close was Connecticut to becoming the center of secession during what many historians call the “Second War of Independence?”

To Learn More:  

Sources for students:

Historical fiction:

C.S. Forester, The Captain from Connecticut, The Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, Incorporated, 1997
Kit Pearson, Whispers of War: the War of 1812 Diary of Susanna Merritt, Scholastic Canada, 2002
Shelley Pearsall, Crooked River, Random House Children’s Books, 2007

Critical Thinking Question(s):

Compare the complaints Connecticut and other New England states had against the federal government during the War of 1812 with the complaints Southern states had against the federal government preceding and during the Civil War. Why did one situation lead to civil war while the other didn’t?

Sources for Teachers:

Borneman, Walter R., 1812 – the War That Forged a Nation, Harpers Collins Publishing, 2004
Bozonelis, Helen Koutras, Primary Source Accounts of the War of 1812, Enslow Publishers, 2006
Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical subjects, Connecticut Department of Education
Connecticut Explored, Connecticut in the War of 1812, Volume 10/No. 3, Summer 2012
Howard, Richard, The War of 1812, facsimiles and reproducible activities, Jackdaw Publications, 1972
Turner, Wesley B., The War of 1812 – The War That Both Sides Won, The Dundurn Group, 2000

Online Links:  

www.myreportlinks.com, America’s wars through primary sources, (password pwe1888)

The Evidence:    

Source 1: U.S. History textbook
Source 2: Wikipedia
Source 3: Connecticut River Museum
Source 4: http://www.1812ct.org/
Source 5: http://warof1812ct.org/
Source 6: http://cheshire.patch.com/articles/connecticuts-reluctant-involvement-in-war-of-1812
Source 7: https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Connecticut_Military_Records
Source 8: http://ctatwar.cslib.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Radune.pdf
Source 9: http://files.usgwarchives.net/ct/statewide/military/1812/pensions/winchell-j.txt
Source 10: http://umbrigade.tripod.com/articles/anatomy.html
Source 11: http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/essays/naval-battleships/

The Case File:  

Handout 1: The War of 1812 by Wikipedia

Handout 2: Issues between nations chart

Handout 3: Hartford Convention by Wikipedia

Handout 4: Leap No Leap political cartoon

Handout 5: List of Hartford Convention delegates

Handout 6: Old England Forty Years Ago poem

Handout 7: Connecticut River Museum essay on the British Raid on Essex

Handout 8: British Raid on Essex game instructions, questions, and answers

Handout 9: British Raid on Essex game board (make four copies for each game)

Handout 10: British Raid on Essex boat pieces

Handout 11: British Raid on Essex torch pieces

This Teacher’s Guide



 

 

About Us | Contact Us |