Were There Two Wars for American Independence?

Were There Two Wars for American Independence?
Dolley Madison: Law, Politics and Govt

Skill: High School/College
Time Required: One to two class periods


One of the major events in Dolley Madison’s life was the War of 1812.  Among other things, she managed to save the major American historic documents, as well as the famous portrait of George Washington, all of which were in the White House, before the British burned Washington, D.C.


The purpose of this lesson is to engage students in a whole class as well as a team activity in which they will decide whether or not the War of 1812 was America’s “second war of independence.”

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet.


This lesson is an already designed WebQuest, with all instructions and resources contained within it.  It is permissible for any teacher to use it.  Go to:  Turning Point in History: The War of 1812.

Extending the Lesson:

If teachers desire, they can build a lesson around the additional websites listed below rather than the WebQuest, depending upon the unique nature of each class.

Sources & Resources:

Additional websites:

         The War of  1812        

         The War of 1812 Website--Timeline

         The War of 1812 Website--Articles        

         Perspectives on the War of 1812 (PBS/Essays)


This lesson was designed by Jo Anne M. Gill, Raymond Cree Middle School, Palm Springs United School District. Additional websites provided by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.