The nation went to war bitterly divided . While the South and West favored the conflict, New York and New England opposed it because it interfered with their commerce . The U .S . military was weak . The army had fewer than 7,000 regular soldiers, distributed in widely scat- tered posts along the coast, near the Canadian border, and in the re- mote interior . The state militias were poorly trained and undisciplined .

Hostilities began with an inva- sion of Canada, which, if properly timed and executed, would have brought united action against Mon- treal . Instead, the entire campaign miscarried and ended with the Brit- ish occupation of Detroit . The U .S . Navy, however, scored successes . In addition, American privateers, swarming the Atlantic, captured 500 British vessels during the fall and winter months of 1812 and 1813 .

The campaign of 1813 centered on Lake Erie . General William Henry Harrison — who would lat- er become president — led an army

of militia, volunteers, and regulars from Kentucky with the object of reconquering Detroit . On September 12, while he was still in upper Ohio, news reached him that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry had annihilated the British fleet on Lake Erie . Har- rison occupied Detroit and pushed into Canada, defeating the fleeing British and their Indian allies on the Thames River . The entire region now came under American control .

A year later Commodore Thomas Macdonough won a point-blank gun duel with a British flotilla on Lake Champlain in upper New York . De- prived of naval support, a British in- vasion force of 10,000 men retreated to Canada . Nevertheless, the Brit- ish fleet harassed the Eastern sea- board with orders to “destroy and lay waste .” On the night of August 24, 1814, an expeditionary force routed American militia, marched to Washington, D .C ., and left the city in flames . President James Madison fled to Virginia .

British and American negotia- tors conducted talks in Europe . The British envoys decided to concede, however, when they learned of Mac- donough’s victory on Lake Champ- lain . Faced with the depletion of the British treasury due in large part to the heavy costs of the Napoleonic Wars, the negotiators for Great Brit- ain accepted the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814 . It provided for the cessation of hostilities, the restora- tion of conquests, and a commission to settle boundary disputes . Unaware that a peace treaty had been signed,

the two sides continued fighting into 1815 near New Orleans, Louisiana . Led by General Andrew Jackson, the United States scored the great- est land victory of the war, ending once and for all any British hopes of reestablishing continental influence south of the Canadian border .

While the British and Americans were negotiating a settlement, Fed- eralist delegates selected by the leg- islatures of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire gathered in Hart- ford, Connecticut, to express oppo- sition to “Mr . Madison’s war .” New England had managed to trade with

the enemy throughout the conflict, and some areas actually prospered from this commerce . Nevertheless, the Federalists claimed that the war was ruining the economy . With a possibility of secession from the Union in the background, the con- vention proposed a series of consti- tutional amendments that would protect New England interests . In- stead, the end of the war, punctuated by the smashing victory at New Or- leans, stamped the Federalists with a stigma of disloyalty from which they never recovered . 9





By the end of the 18th century, many educated Americans no longer professed traditional Christian beliefs. In reaction to the secularism of the age, a religious revival spread westward in the first half of the 19th century.

This “Second Great Awakening” consisted of several kinds of activity, distinguished by locale and expression of religious commitment. In New England, the renewed interest in religion inspired a wave of social activism. In western New York, the spirit of revival encouraged the emergence of new denominations. In the Appalachian region of Kentucky and Tennessee, the revival strengthened the Methodists and the Baptists, and spawned a new form of religious expression — the camp meeting.

In contrast to the Great Awakening of the 1730s, the revivals in the East were notable for the absence of hysteria and open emotion. Rather, unbelievers were awed by the “respectful silence” of those bearing witness to their faith. The evangelical enthusiasm in New England gave rise to interdenominational missionary societies, formed to evangelize the West. Members of these societies not only acted as apostles for the faith, but as educators, civic leaders, and exponents of Eastern, urban culture. Publication and education societies promoted Christian education. Most notable among them was the American Bible Society, founded in 1816. Social activism inspired by the revival gave rise to abolition of slavery groups and the Society for the Promotion of Temperance, as well as to efforts to reform prisons and care for the handicapped and mentally ill.

Western New York, from Lake Ontario to the Adirondack Mountains, had been the scene of so many religious revivals in the past that it was known as the “Burned-Over District.” Here, the dominant figure was Charles Grandison Finney, a lawyer who had experienced a religious epiphany and set out to preach the Gospel. His revivals were characterized by careful planning, showmanship, and advertising. Finney preached in the Burned-Over District throughout the 1820s and the early 1830s, before moving to Ohio in 1835 to take a chair in theology at Oberlin College, of which he subsequently became president.

Two other important religious denominations in America — the Mormons and the Seventh Day Adventists — also got their start in the Burned- Over District.

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