Presentation on theme: "The History of the Star-Spangled Banner. Britain had signed a Treaty to end the Revolution in 1783. America became a country. The British also agreed."— Presentation transcript:
The History of the Star-Spangled Banner
Britain had signed a Treaty to end the Revolution in America became a country. The British also agreed to give up their forts and allow settlers to move west.
The British were fighting Napoleon and their vast Navy was in need of sailors. Napoleon wanted to conquer Europe. America Napoleon British forces
In order to keep their forces strong, the British began the process of impressment. Impressment is rather like kidnapping. When the British boarded an American ship, the British commanders would take the sailors with them to fight on their ships. THIS ANGERED THE AMERICANS.
The British also decided NOT to give back the forts in America. Therefore, the settlers couldn’t move west. THIS ANGERED THE AMERICANS EVEN MORE.
The British also urged the Indians to fight the Americans. They gave the Indians arms and money to fight. THIS ANGERED THE AMERICANS EVEN MORE!!!
America was a new country and many did not think it could protect itself. Shipping was very important to the early Americans. Business was dependent upon shipping to other countries. Those that were involved in sea trade, did not want to go to war against Britain. They didn’t want to see trade disrupted.
President James Madison (Little Jemmy) asked the Congress to declare war on England in Many were against the war, but Madison got Congress to sign on and the war began. Madison was a small man – about 5 ft. 4 inches and weighed about 120 pounds. He had enormous intelligence and was often underestimated by others.
WHAT were they thinking??? The American army invaded Canada, still a British colony, hoping to conquer this British territory. The Indians joined the British and the Americans were not prepared for the battle. The Americans burned the Parliament building in York (now known as Toronto) and retreated.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the British defeated Napoleon. This left the British free to concentrate on their war with America. They came in full force; the largest, most professional group of soldiers in the whole world. They sailed towards America.
To get revenge for the burning of York in Canada, the British attacked Washington, D.C. Thinking that the British might be on their way to Washington, Madison and other political and military leaders left town. Dolley, Madison’s wife, remained behind. No one truly believed the British would attack Washington.
The British focused their energy on Washington and attacked ferociously. First they burned the Capitol. Then they destroyed all of the books in the Library of Congress. Then, they headed for the President’s house. The army and militia of America was nowhere to be seen.
The people of Washington watched in horror as the British army destroyed the Capitol. Many civilians were killed. The British lost very few soldiers. They headed to the President’s house, where Dolley was about to give a dinner party. Dolley ran for her life, but only after she had managed to save many important historical items, including the portrait of George Washington, velvet curtains, and important papers.
Portrait of George Washington, 1799 “Our kind friend, Mr. Carroll, has come to hasten my departure, and is in a very bad humor with me because I insist on waiting until the large picture of Gen. Washington is secured, and it requires to be unscrewed from the wall. This process was found to be too tedious for these perilous moments; I have ordered the frame to be broken, and the canvas taken out; it is done – and the precious portrait placed in the hands of 2 gentlemen of New York for safekeeping.” Dolley Madison
Before the British burned Madison’s home, they sat down and enjoyed the dinner Dolley had prepared for her guests. Then they set fire to the President’s mansion.
The British could not know that a hurricane was on its way to Washington. To the citizens of Washington it seemed that the hand of God reached out and punished the British. The hurricane hit and many soldiers lost their lives. Tornadoes touched down. Washington was in ruins.
A picture of the Battle of Washington
After the destruction of Washington, the British headed for Baltimore. Baltimore was a very important port, the home of many American ships. Baltimore patriots were not going to give up their city without a fight. The British called Baltimore “The City of Pirates”.
Now, imagine the port filled with ships. Houses lined the waterfront. Baltimore was under the command of Major General Samuel Smith. Major Smith convinced the ship owners to sink their own ships in the water. This turned out to be a great plan – the British warships couldn’t come into the harbor because of the sunken vessels.
Baltimore also was home to Fort McHenry. This fort was commanded by Major George Armistead. The fort was shaped like a star, with cannons mounted at every point. It was located on Baltimore Harbor.
Fort McHenry: Star-shaped citadel
Fort McHenry today
In 1813, a year before the British attacked, Major Armistead had hired Mary Pickersgill to sew a huge flag, 30 feet high and 42 feet wide. Mary had never made such a huge flag. Her workshop wasn’t big enough! She,her daughter Caroline, and seven other women sewed the giant flag in the brewery, after working hours. They sewed until midnight every night by the light of an oil lamp.
When it was done, it had 15 stripes and 15 stars. Each star was two feet across. Major Armistead had one of the biggest flags in the country.
A year later, in September 1814, the British prepared to attack Baltimore. The Americans were ready.
An American lawyer named Francis Scott Key and another American, John Skinner, who was in charge of prisoner exchanges sailed up to the British fleet in a small boat. The British had captured their friend, Dr. William Beanes. Mr. Key and Mr. Skinner had come to ask the Admiral for the release of their friend.
Mr. Key argued that the British should release Dr. Beanes because he was not a soldier. Dr. Beanes had helped many people, including British soldiers and didn’t deserve to be kept as a prisoner. While the Admiral thought about the release of Dr. Beanes, Mr. Key and Mr. Skinner quickly realized that the British were going to attack Baltimore.
Because Francis Scott Key and John Skinner knew of the British plans, they were held on board a truce ship while the British attacked the city of Baltimore. All they could do was watch while the British bombed the fort with 200 pound bombs and rockets. Because of the sunken ships, the warships could not get close enough to land.
The Battle rages at Ft. McHenry
The British warships fired on Fort McHenry for 25 hours. The three men: Beanes, Key, and Skinner were helpless as they watched the fort being destroyed. They could not see through all the smoke and the dark night.
Finally at dawn, on September 14, 1814, Mr. Key looked through his telescope. He saw the huge American flag waving proudly over Ft. McHenry. The Americans had won the battle! He was so overcome with joy, that he sat down and scribbled his poem “The Defense of Fort McHenry” which was published in a few days.
The words were then set to a popular song and the title was changed to “The Star-Spangled Banner”. In 1931 Congress named it the official American National Anthem.
In later years, Major Armistead gave away small pieces of the flag to widows who had lost their husbands in the war. The flag got smaller. Later, it was given to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington. The flag is currently undergoing renovations. Workers are trying to treat the material that is slowly falling apart.
Currently the flag can only be viewed in a room in the Smithsonian where it is undergoing extensive renovation.
DID YOU KNOW????????? Nearly 61 percent of Americans do not know all of the words to the Star Spangled Banner. More than 70 percent of Americans learned the Star-Spangled Banner at school during music class. Among teens, 38 percent do not know the name of our National Anthem. Less than 35 percent of teens can name the author of the National Anthem.
LET’S CHANGE THIS….. AS FEW AS 15 PERCENT OF AMERICAN YOUTH CAN SING THE WORDS TO THE ANTHEM.
O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air. Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there: O say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?