In the summer of 1812, President James Madison declared war against Great Britain.
The British navy had been seizing or impressing cargo and crews of the American merchant fleet on the high seas. British agents had been encouraging Native Americans to rise up in rebellion against white American settlers. American interests coveted the vast expanse of the Canadian frontier, which remained in Britain's possession.
The War of 1812 contributed significantly toward defining the identities of the United States and Canada. The many songs composed during the war and its aftermath -- including our own national anthem -- express a broad range of Native American, white American, British, and Canadian perspectives. They demonstrate that perceptions of war and its repercussions can vary widely, depending on one's experiences of them.
Skilled guitarist and singer Lee Murdock performs several of these songs and provides commentary about them based on his extensive research.
For "Star Spangled Banner and the Struggle that Forged Two Nations" at Wood River Library, Lee Murdock will present a program of music and narrative, shedding some entertaining light upon a lesser-known era in the history of North America.
The event is being produced in part by the Illinois Humanities Council’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, a program that provides organizations statewide with affordable, entertaining, and thought-provoking humanities events for their communities.