A Short Summary of the War of 1812

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12265

The War of 1812 is not one of the Top Five wars we think about. Most Americans know little if anything about it, although the White House was burned and "The Star Spangled Banner" was written then!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


You have heard of the Revolutionary War, known as the War for Independence. Did you know there was a “second war for independence”?

The War of 1812 is often referred to as the “second war for independence” because it was the second war between the United States and Great Britain, taking place shortly after the Revolutionary War.

Make a list of everything you already know about the War of 1812 on a separate piece of paper. Share your list with your teacher or parent.

You probably do not know a lot about the War of 1812, but that is common, even for adults! The War of 1812 is an often-overlooked part of American history because it did not have a huge impact on the continuing history of the United States or Great Britain.

Fort McHenry bombardment

Image provided by Dr. Frog, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

In this lesson, you will read a short summary of the most important information regarding the War of 1812. As you read the information in the following interactive, make a list of all the important facts you come across:

When you have finished reading through the information, watch When the British burned the White House from CBS Sunday Morning to learn more about the War of 1812 and the burning of Washington, D.C. As you watch the video, continue to add to your list of interesting facts. Then, discuss the following questions:

  • Why do you think the War of 1812 is often overlooked in both American and British history?
  • How did the War of 1812 impact the policies and history of the United States after the war?
  • Does the outcome of the War of 1812 impact you in any way today?


When you have finished discussing the questions, move on to the Got It? section. Make sure to hold on to the list of interesting facts you have been creating because you will be able to use it as you complete an interactive timeline activity.

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