War of 1812 Lesson for Kids: Facts & Summary

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

In this lesson you will learn incredible facts about the War of 1812, often referred to as America's 'second war of independence.' Discover how this war impacted the White House and inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

A Small Fight Gets Bigger

Have you ever had an argument with a friend, brother or sister? It isn't much fun! And just when you think you've made up, another conflict erupts a few weeks later. Maybe your friend or sibling pulls other friends into the mix and a big old fight happens. Nobody is getting along. Well, this is what happened between America and Great Britain during the War of 1812.

War of 1812 Summary

After winning the American Revolutionary War against England in 1783, the young United States was new and developing with its sights set on expansion. Unfortunately, tension still existed between the two countries.

Great Britain was at war with France, which was led by Napoleon Bonaparte, a military leader trying to conquer Europe. So when America began trading goods and supplies with the French, the British weren't happy! They started removing American sailors off of ships and forcing them to serve in the British Navy.

But that wasn't all. Canada was a British colony at the time. The British convinced the Native Americans in the Canadian territory that they needed to help them because the Americans were looking to annex, or add, the territory to the United States. Trouble was brewing.

Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812
war of 1812

On June 18, 1812, President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain. A series of battles occurred spanning from the Great Lakes to Maryland and even down to New Orleans. This is why the War of 1812 is sometimes referred to as 'the second war of independence'.

The Americans and British fought from 1812 until 1815. And the Native Americans got mixed up in it too, losing one of their most revered heroes, Chief Tecumseh.

President James Madison
james madison

End of the War

Have you ever played chess, checkers, or maybe tic-tac toe? Games like these sometimes end without a winner. This was the result of the War of 1812, which ended in a stalemate, meaning neither side won. Tired of fighting, the parties signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814, returning any land gained by either side back to the original owner.

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