Noah Breakspear

if x=y then C+=A+


To what extent did the Burning of Washington change the outcome of the War on 1812? Independent Investigation #2

A. Historical Significance

Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary to secondary.

The main focus of this inquiry is to acknowledge the struggle between the Americans and the British and how sometimes, you must go to great lengths to get your point across. This is an important question to ask because it was a turning point for the Canadian and British armies. The idea of rebelling against America influenced many citizens to fight for their country. The Burning of Washington showed that Canada was indeed a strong nation.hith-british-burn-washington-dc-200-years-ago-e-e1467945999256

On August 24, 1814, General Robert Ross, led an entire army of British soldiers into Washington D.C. Prior to this attack, Ross stormed American militiamen at the Battle of Bladensburg in Maryland where President James Madison took command at one point, just before fleeing back to Washington D.C. Later that day Ross had finally arrived in the capital, heading straight for The President’s House. Madison had received word of the invasion and quickly departed out of state.

General Ross and 40 of his officers had dinner in The President’s House, feasting like kings while soldiers took over the entire capital. Once the British were in complete control, troops began setting everything on fire. The arsonists had targeted everything but focused on federal buildings and private homes. Once Ross was finished dining, they destroyed and ruined the interior of The President’s House, just before dousing it in flames.

On August 26 only two days after the fires, Ross ordered a withdrawal from the destroyed city. The next morning, President Madison and his wife returned to a smoking and charred Washington and promised to rebuild the city. The James Hoban, the architect of The President’s House, completed reconstruction of the executive mansion in 1817. The President’s house was then renamed to The White House. America decided to repaint the mansion white in order to hide the flame marks and ultimately, hide the loss to the British.


2. Cause and Consequence

Why did your researched events happen the way they did and what were the consequences?


Battle of York, 1812

Battle of York, 1812

The main reason behind The Burning of Washington was for a rebellious cause. Earlier in the war, American troops had invaded the city of York in Ontario, Canada, in June 1812. During the time of the war against America for the second time, England was still at war with Napoleon Bonaparte, making their main focus towards the French. After the victory in April 1814, England sent

British troops down to Canada, strengthening the Canadian Forces. England had also suggested and commanded for this attack to happen. In July 1814, Sir George Prevost, the General of the Canadas (Canadian forces), had sent a letter to British Admiral Cochrane, instructing,

“… in consequence of the late disgraceful conduct of the American troops in the wanton destruction of private property on the north shores of Lake Erie, in order that if the war with the United States continues you may, should you judge it advisable, assist in inflicting that measure of retaliation which shall deter the enemy from a repetition of similar outrages”

Later that month, Cochrane ordered British Admiral Cockburn to “deter the enemy from a repetition of similar outrages… You

Treaty of Ghent signing, 1814

Treaty of Ghent signing, 1814

are hereby required and directed to destroy and lay waste such towns and districts as you may find assailable”. Cochrane instructed, “You will spare merely the lives of the unarmed inhabitants of the United States.”

In consequence of the Burning of Washington, both America and England lost plethora amounts of troops. This act of rebellion actually led to the end of the War of 1812. Near the end of August 1814, Britain and America started peace negotiations. After a four-month process of talks and demands, The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1812.




4. Ethical Judgement

Is what happened right and fair by the values and standards of the time? How about from our current values and standards? Explain.
During the time, Not many rules and regulations were put in place for acts of rebellion. The world was completely different to what is it now so this question is very difficult to answer. In today’s society anything that happened that long ago, would never be acceptable. It’s that simple.
200 years ago, if someone poked you, you would poke them back. What I mean by this is that instead of talking or reconciling, the only answer was retaliation and war. Considering what Sir Prevost had ordered, it is obvious that at the time they did not care how much blood they spilled. Another piece of evidence is the fact that they had still burnt down Washington although it had been two years since the burning in York. This just shows that in the 1800s, Revenge is the answer.


B. Social Studies Inquiry Processes:

What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?
Based on the research I conducted, I concluded that Britain and the “Canadians” were stronger than the American’s thought. Their alliance together ensured they would be victorious when the war came to an end. Also, although Britain had every right to rebel against America, in today’s society this would have never been acceptable. To answer my question, The Burning of Washington completely changed the outcome of the War of 1812 as after this event both America and Britain created a treaty to stop further feuds.


Hamiltalons DOL

Part A:

My Shot is the third song in Act 1 following immediately after Aaron Burr, Sir. This song exemplifies everyone’s wants and fears out of the revolution. It also mentions the continuity and change of Alexander Hamilton and how his identity as a boy was a struggle.

WHO: In this song, five new characters are introduced: Lafayette, John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan, Aaron Burr, And of course Alexander Hamilton.
WHAT: They all wanted to join the American Revolution and get as many people as they could to rise up and fight for their freedom.
WHERE: This song took place in a bar, most likely in New York.
WHEN: It was set during the summer of 1776 although Hamilton met all these characters on different occasions over many years.
WHY: All of these men want to join the revolution for different reasons but all ending up relating to each other: AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE.



Character Development:

In this song, Lafayette says “I dream of life without a monarchy The unrest in France will lead to Onarchy? Onarchy how you say, how you say, anarchy? When I fight, I make the other side panicky” Firstly, Onarchy is clearly not a word. Lafayette was born in Chavaniac, France, and a native Frenchmen would indeed pronounce it as Onarchy.

There is actually some clashing evidence in these statements. As it says, “I dream a life without the monarchy”, this is actually incorrect. Although Lafayette wanted more rights for the American Colonists and people of France, he was an advocate of a constitutional monarchist. When Lafayette was designing a Declaration for France, he had never spoken up about Monarchy being entirely removed.

With that aside, Lafayette is illustrating that he wishes for the American Revolution to proceed. Lafayette was indeed a French Noblemen and was vital to the revolution as he supplied all the French Ships and troops. At one point, this enabled Washington to defeat the British at Yorktown. A couple years later, Lafayette traveled back to France and helped lead the storming of the Bastille, which kicked off the French Revolution.



So, John Laurens was an English abolitionist (Someone who wants to end slavery) and he had asked the president of united states, George Washington many times to free the slaves. After many reluctant denies from Washington, Laurens came up with a controversial idea: He wouldRecruit as many Slaves as possible to the Patriots cause, and then free them when their service was complete. Though the Continental Congress considered his plan, they ultimately rejected the idea. Where Lauren says “Wait till I sally in On a stallion with the first black battalion”, Laurens is expressing his efforts to recruit black slaves to fight for their freedom as U.S. soldiers.

Hercules Mulligan worked for his father until 1774 as a tailor’s apprentice. The line “Yo, I’m a tailor’s apprentice” does indeed refer back to him working for his father. Later on, he says “ I got your Knuckleheads in loco Parentis. Loco Parentis is Latin for “in the place of parents” again referring back to his father. This is not historically accurate. You see, Hamilton and more particular, this song, was set in 1776, two years after which by this time Mulligan was already a fully qualified tailor. However, this could be a reference to how much older he was than Hamilton. Mulligan was also part of the Sons of Liberty which was a secret organization that protected the rights of the colonists. Although he wanted to socially advance and improve basic human needs, he also worked with Laurens, attempting to end slavery.



Aaron Burr does not have a huge role during this song except for a back up vocals and these particular lines, “Geniuses, lower your voices You keep out of trouble and you double your choices I’m with you, but the situation is fraught You’ve got to be carefully taught: If you talk, you’re gonna get shot!” Burr is trying to tell Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, and Hamilton to keep their heads down as there is a possibility that Loyalists (an American colonist who stayed loyal to the British) are among them as what they are planning to do is treasonous and could be shot for it.


Part B:
Historical Events51zva3maffl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
Throughout the song, the main and most repeated words are “I am not throwing away my shot! I am not throwing away my shot! Hey yo, I’m just like my country I’m young, scrappy and hungry And I’m not throwing away my shot!” Before starting this project, I was not very aware of the meaning behind this line. I started this song thinking that it was a reference to a war, fight or duel Hamilton took part. After researching a bit, I finally found the answer that explains the meaning behind these lines. Every time Hamilton sings these words, he is making reference to his struggles as a boy. The Caribbean at the time was very unwealthy and struggled in economic finance and human sustainability. He mentions later in the song “See, I never thought I’d live past twenty Where I come from some get half as many”. During the 17th century, the life expectancy was barely 26.8 for the wealthiest few. Unlucky people who lived in poverty was half of that.

Big Idea
The big idea that connects to “My Shot” is “Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events” Because the emerging idea of rebelling for American Independence had influenced many characters in my song to rise up and join Hamilton for the fight for freedom.


Part C:
This song was very interesting and it told me a lot about Hamilton. There is nothing specifically intriguing but the song as a whole is what resonated with me. My Shot incorporates many different tempos, which gives the song an extra kick. The different perspectives and even just the voices of Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, Burr, and Hamilton made this song very diverse and fascinating to listen to.


Theme 1: LEGACY

“Don’t be shocked when your hist’ry book mentions me I will lay down my life if it sets us free Eventually, you’ll see my ascendancy”

Hamilton made it very clear throughout the entire musical that he would do ANYTHING for legacy. He believed that if he could get his name in a book or his ancestors talking about him, it would be worth it. Many times Hamilton states that he would give away his life if it meant freedom for the Colonists and legacy for him!


“A colony that runs independently Meanwhile, Britain keeps shittin’ on us endlessly Essentially, they tax us relentlessly Then King George turns around, runs a spending spree He ain’t ever gonna set his descendants free So there will be a revolution in this century Enter me!”

Hamilton and the American Colonists had started to become frustrated towards the British for the many taxes they demanded such as the Stamp Act. Over time, they began to realize that nothing would change, and King George would never give up unless they responded and fought for their freedom. This is a very obvious theme but I thought it was vital to have as My Shot is one of the first songs.

Theme 3: REGRET

“And? If we win our independence? Is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants? Or will the blood we shed begin an endless Cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?”

This line is fantastic as Hamilton is sort of being Devils Advocate. Hamilton is questioning the entire revolution and asking himself if it’s a good idea. He is saying that his actions could cause a blood feud between America and the British which could affect future generations.



Hamilton…. Thingy

Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events.

“In New York you can be a new man”

  • The idea that if you travel to a new place and try to start again in a new world showed that many people and immigrants have the chance to have a new life. This influenced them to attempt to cross seas and have another chance.


Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.

And every day while slaves were being slaughtered and carted away
Across the waves, he struggled and kept his guard up
Inside, he was longing for something to be a part of
The brother was ready to beg, steal, borrow, or barter”

  • Hamilton was born into the lower class of society and it was hard for him to get certain needs such as food. In any other environment, Hamilton might not have been the founding father of the USA as he didn’t have to “beg, steal, borrow, or barter”


Collective identity is constructed and can change over time.

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

  • Hamilton started off as a very poor person, with nothing and no one to help him. People who were close to him started to pass away and he was left with nothing. The fact that he became a founding father of the USA, shows that his identity has changed tremendously.


The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.

“Then a hurricane came, and devastation reigned, our man saw his future drip dripping down the drain. Put a pencil to his temple connected it to his brain and he wrote his first refrain a testament to his pain.”

I am not exactly sure,  but I believe this means that although Hamilton had a very hard life, He was able to turn it into something good by writing stories to help him with his pain.


English 16th/17th Century Letter

October 8th, 1665


Document of Learning — The Wheels of Revolution


Comparing Revolutions to the English Civil War, the American Revolution has the most in common. Both the English Civil War and American Revolution ignited into battle because of unfair taxes that was brought upon the people from their rulers. Charles I imposed taxes on towns in order to fund his expensive desires and show off his wealth, while the British Government also taxed the American colonies to pay off their war debts. This infuriated the people on both sides, who felt that they were being forced to pay unnecessary taxes. Eventually, this made the citizens rise up against their rulers, causing riots, battle and chaos. In addition, the French Revolution sparked up because the Government was corrupt and in crisis and Charles l wasn’t doing any better either.

 The end of the English Civil Wars may not seem like justice was served. The Monarchy, Charles I, was punished accordingly by being publicly executed. However, the amount of deaths and property damage which occurred over all three wars was devastating. Many citizens and farmers were left in poverty after their houses were destroyed and by the end, more than 200,000 men and women died including 50,000 royalists and 40,000 parliamentarians. On the other hand, Oliver Cromwell, alongside the parliament, formed a new government that is now known today as a Republic. This had a huge positive impact on England as it started to lead England towards a fairer government, allowing all citizens of all classes to live more equally.




Historical Thinking


I believe the most important and significant question is, “Why do events happen, and what are their impacts?” and this should be the question to study for the rest of the school year.

The first part is quite simple. Why do events happen? Historic events occur because of other events. It’s sort of like a domino effect. When one event happens, the next one is caused because of the first one. Now, we can trace this example back to the beginning of time with the Big Bang Theory, but humanity cannot conclude what caused the “first event in history.” For a more logical and reasonable example, let’s take World War 2 and more specifically, the Attack on Pearl Harbour. Japan and America had trade routes at one point but the Japanese military came to the realization that America was becoming powerful. To prevent this, Japan sent over 300 fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes to obliterate the naval base in Hawaii. On December 7th, 1941, the bombs were dropped and all hell had broken loose. Prior to this event, the USA was not involved in the war but the day after the Pearl Harbour bombings, the US had declared war on Japan. Italy and Germany had declared war on America.

As you can see with the picture provided below, one event leads to another. This is where the second part of the question comes into play: “what are their impacts?” The impacts of events are why we study them, whether they’re positive or negative. The first world war caused a plethora amount of destruction and millions of lives were lost. We needed to learn from the consequences of our actions. People said it was “the war to end all wars”. Humanity believed that because of all the damage and death, we would have learned to stop fighting and killing each other. However, a few decades later the second World War broke out.

This is why we need to reflect and learn from the negative impacts certain events cause as well as positive impacts. Every choice we make in our lives will have an effect on something. This is why we need to study the question, “Why do events happen, and what are their impacts” – to properly understand the consequences and positive impacts of historical events.