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Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh
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LESSON 14: Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh

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This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 5 A Question of Loyalties

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Backgrounder

In the early 19th century, tension mounted between the United States and Britain. Britain waged war against Napoleonic France and blockaded European ports, preventing neutral American merchants from reaching their European markets. As well, the Americans were pushing westward into Native lands of the Ohio valley, and coming into conflict with British garrisons in those territories where sovereignty was not defined. American sentiment was growing in support of a Canadian invasion that would remove the British from North America and defeat their Native allies. On June 18, 1812, the United States Congress declared war on Britain; its objective was Canada. The United States was a nation of seven million people; there were 500,000 Canadians.

The commander of the British forces in Canada was Isaac Brock, a general who commanded 300 soldiers and 400 militiamen. He allied with Shawnee chief Tecumseh, who wanted to hinder American expansion and organize an Indian confederacy. Tecumseh had 600 men whom he put at Brock's disposal. At Fort Detroit in August, 1812, the two armies overcame the 2,000 American defenders and captured the fort.

The Americans were humiliated by this surprise defeat. At dawn on October 13, 1812, American forces under General Winfield Scott struck at Queenston Heights, downstream from Niagara Falls. The 6,000 American soldiers gained the upper hand, but Brock ordered a counterattack supported by a band of Mohawk under the leadership of John Brant. The Americans were pushed back towards the river and their retreat turned into a stampede. Although this was another major victory for Brock, he was killed on the battlefield.

In the fall of 1813, the Americans were determined to retake Fort Detroit. An American naval victory on Lake Erie cut off the British supply routes to Detroit. An army of 3,000 men commanded by General William Henry Harrison marched on the fort. The 3,000 British soldiers, commanded by General Henry Proctor, defended the position. Tecumseh was at his side. Proctor decided to abandon Fort Detroit and double back up the Thames River. Tecumseh was furious and felt abandoned by his allies. On October 5, 1813, the two armies met. The British forces broke ranks and their defence disintegrated. With only 500 Natives, Tecumseh faced 3,000 American soldiers. When quiet finally descended on the battlefield, Tecumseh had been killed, and his dream of a great Indian Confederacy had been permanently shattered. Shortly after, the Native nations of the United States forged peace with the Americans. The Americans attempted to seize Montreal in October, 1813, but they suffered a major defeat on the Chateauguay River south of Montreal when 460 French-Canadian militiamen resisted an American army of 4,000. In August, 1814, Britain and the United States ended the hostilities.

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    Lesson Plans
    Episode 1
    When the World Began...
    Lesson 1 Canada's First Peoples
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 2 Stories of Creation
    Lesson 3 Cartier and Donnacona

    Episode 2
    Adventures and Mystics
    Lesson 4 The Beginning of the Fur Trade
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 5 The Jesuits and the Huron
    Lesson 6 Immigration to New France

    Episode 3
    Claiming the Wilderness
    Lesson 7 Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 8 The Expulsion of the Acadians

    Episode 4
    Battle for a Continent
    Lesson 9 Before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 10 The Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 11 The Quebec Act
    (includes activity)

    Episode 5
    A Question of Loyalties
    Lesson 12 Conflict in Quebec, 1775
    Lesson 13 United Empire Loyalists
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 14 Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh

    Episode 6
    The Pathfinders
    Lesson 15 The Fur Trade in Canada
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 16 The Selkirk Settlers
    Lesson 17 The Gold Rush

    Episode 7
    Rebellion and Reform
    Lesson 18 The Rebellions of 1837
    Lesson 19 Union of the Canadas
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 20 A Land of Hope

    Episode 8
    The Great Enterprise
    Lesson 21 Newcomers to Canada
    Lesson 22 The Making of Confederation
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 23 Confederation in the Maritimes

    Episode 9
    From Sea to Sea
    Lesson 24 The Red River Resistance
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 25 The Pacific Scandal

    Episode 10
    Taking the West
    Lesson 26 The North-West Rebellion
    Lesson 27 The Trial of Louis Riel
    Lesson 28 Macdonald's National Dream

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