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The War of 1812: Origins of the War

The War of 1812, between the United States of America and the British Empire (particularly Great Britain and British North America), lasts from 1812 to 1815. It is fought chiefly on the Atlantic Ocean and on the land, coasts and waterways of North America.

What do you know about The War of 1812: Origins of the War?
Try this US History Made Easy Quiz.
"Check Your Answers" at the end of the page.

The unfinished United States Capitol after the burning of Washington. Watercolor and ink depiction from 1814, restored.1) When did the United States declare war on Britain?

  • June 18, 1810
  • June 18, 1811
  • June 18, 1812
  • June 18, 1813

2) The war has many causes, but at the center of the conflict was Britain's ongoing war with Napoleon's France.

  • True or False?

3) The United States Merchant Marine has come close to doubling between 1802 and 1810. Britain is the largest trading partner, receiving 80% of all U.S. cotton and 50% of all other U.S. exports.

  • True or False?

4) During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy expands to 175 ships of the line and 600 ships overall, requiring 140,000 sailors. A sizeable number of sailors in the United States merchant navy are Royal Navy veterans or deserters who have left for better pay and conditions.
What is the estimated number of British sailors are in the US merchant navy?

  • 110
  • 1,100
  • 11,000
  • 110,000

5) American anger at impressments grew when British frigates station themselves just outside U.S. harbors in U.S. territorial waters and search ships for contraband and impressed men in view of U.S. shores.
What is a rallying cry for the United States throughout the conflict.

  • "Free trade and sailors' rights"
  • "All For One and One for All"
  • "America First"
  • "Land of the Free"

6) American expansion into the Northwest Territory (the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin) is being obstructed by indigenous leaders, supplied and encouraged by the British.
Who was one of the indigenous leader?

  • Sherman
  • Brave Eagle
  • Tecumseh
  • Dance with Buffalo

7) President James Madison and his advisers believe that conquest of Canada will be easy and that economic coercion will force the British to come to terms by cutting off the food supply for their West Indies colonies. Furthermore, possession of Canada will be a valuable bargaining chip. Frontiersmen demand the seizure of Canada not because they wanted the land, but because the British are thought to be arming the Indians and thereby blocking settlement of the West.

  • True or False?

8) In 1812, who says: "The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax, the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent."?

  • Aaron Burr
  • John Adams
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Willard Scott

9) On May 11, who is the Prime Minister that is shot and killed by an assassin, resulting in a change of the British government, putting Lord Liverpool in power?

  • Spencer Perceval
  • Abraham Isaac
  • Randolph Churchill
  • Jefferson Smith

10) Lord Liverpool wants a more practical relationship with the United States. He issues a repeal of the Orders in Council, but the U.S. is unaware of this and declares war.
How long does it take for news to cross the Atlantic?

  • One week
  • Three weeks
  • Six weeks
  • Two months

Check Your Answers

The War of 1812: Origins of the War [Answers]

  1. June 18, 1812
  2. True
  3. True
  4. 11,000
  5. "Free trade and sailors' rights"
  6. Tecumseh
  7. True
  8. Thomas Jefferson
  9. Spencer Perceval
  10. Three weeks
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