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WAR OF 1812 In this essay I will be discussing the major events and battles that took place during the War of 1812. The war was a conflict fought between the United States and Great Britain. It started in 1812 and lasted until the spring of 1815. My thesis statement is: The War of 1812 was a war that neither side won. There were four main causes for the war taking place.
These were impressment, boundary problems, the Warhawks, and the British supplying the Ohio Country Indians with weapons and supplies. Henry Clay, who was the leader of the Warhawks, convinced Americans that defeating British North America, "is only a matter of marching." He knew that Britain wouldnt have any troops to spare because of their involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. Soon after the outbreak of the war, the British forces on St. Josephs Island moved toward the American held Mackinac Island and the next morning were in position on the hill above the fort with cannons and muskets aimed down into it. The American commander, Lieutenant Porter Hanks, immediately surrendered.
Lieutenant Hanks wasnt even warned by his own government that they declared war. Americans began to worry about the exposed fort of Detroit. The U.S. quickly dispatched Brigadier General William Hull with reinforcements to the fort. In July, General Hull decided to cross the Detroit River into Upper Canada.
His militia was poorly equipped, so when Hull learned of an approaching force made up of British troops, Canadian militia, and native Americans, he quickly retreated back to Detroit. General Isaac Brock led the British units. Brock took his army on the offensive and followed Hull back to Detroit. Brocks intentions were to secure the western frontier for the British. In the battle of Detroit he was able to take control over Detroit without firing a single shot. Now the entire northern and western frontiers were controlled by the British.
In October, the Americans made second attempt to invade Canada, this time on the Niagra frontier at the eastern end of Upper Canada. They sent a force across the Niagra river and stormed the heights above the city of Queenston. This was known as the battle of Queenston Heights. The British sent in more troops to counterattack. The Americans were supposed to receive support from a New York militia officer named Stephen Van Rensselaer, but Rensselaer refused to cross into Canada assist them.
The British again defeated the Americans, but they faced a great loss, General Isaac Brock, who was considered a huge asset to the British. At the end of year one , there were no Americans on British soil, but there were British on American soil. A new American army led by William Henry Harrison made their way up from Kentucky to try and retake Detroit for the U.S. . One wing was so badly beat up by a force of British, Canadians, and Indians at Frenchtown that further attempts to invade Detroit were abandoned.
The only Americans in Canada were prisoners of war. The British strategy was to act defensively and allow the invaders to make mistakes. The Americans attacked York and burned public buildings, and seized valuable naval supplies destined for Lake Erie. The Americans left York and their army seized Fort George at the mouth of the Niagra River. The British army escaped and prevented the Americans from advancing up the Niagra peninsula by winning the battles at Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams.
Shortly after the Americans abandoned Fort George. The U.S. started planning another attack to take control of Montreal. Their plan failed when they faced major losses at the battles of Chateauguay, and Cryslers Farm. At the end of the second year, the Americans had possession of Fort Amherstburg on the Detroit River, and the British had possession of the two American forts, Niagra and Michilimackinac.
The Americans again crossed the Niagra River and seized Fort Erie on July 3, and defeated the British at Chippawa on July 5, but then failed trying to retake Fort George. The bloody battle of Lundys Lane followed on July 25. The battle was fought in the pitch dark of the night and it was hard to tell friend from foe. It ended in a stalemate. The Americans withdrew to Fort Erie and here they beat up the forces of British Commander, Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond, when he attempted a night attack.
A three-month standoff followed. Finally on November 5, the Americans again withdrew. The Napoleonic Wars were now over and Britain had troops available to send to Canada. The British army now marched toward Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain. The British were defeated on the ground attack and on the Lake. England and America had tried to start peace discussions as early as 1813, but without much success.
In August 1814 the British appointed commissioners to meet with American negotiators at Ghent. After many issues and controversy, both countries finally decided to sign the peace agreement, known as the Treaty of Ghent, on December 24, 1814. News of the treaty did not reach the United States for nearly two months. This resulted in another Battle that shouldnt of have taken place. It was known as the Battle of New Orleans. The out-numbered Americans surprisingly defeated the British.
This was the final battle that took place during the war. The War of 1812 ended as a stalemate in the spring of 1815. Both sides fought back and forth and never really gained anything, they only faced many casualties. The war was really actually pointless and would probably never of had even taken place if it wasnt for the pressure from the Warhawks. The war put an end to American immigration to Upper Canada. The only thing gained by the Canadians was that an identity was beginning to emerge.
Bibliography Book: The Invasion of Canada 1812-1213 Berton, Pierre Encyclopaedia: Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia 99.
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