How to Use
Determining the Facts
Reading 3: “Defence of Fort McHenry”
(Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society)
Questions for Reading 3
1. Try to read the document. If you can’t, click here for a transcript. Then compare the introductory paragraph with Reading How does it differ? Why do you think that might be the case?
2. Read the first stanza of the poem carefully and compare it with Reading 1. In what ways do you think it reflects what Major Armistead reported? In what ways, if any, does it differ?
3. Next, read the other three stanzas. Summarize in your own words what they are saying. Why do you think few people sing them today?
4. Francis Scott Key was a member of a prominent white family that owned many slaves. Why do you think he saw no contradiction between his status as a slaveholder and his pride in the “land of the free”?
5. This original broadside is one of only two known to survive. Why do you think someone kept it and preserved it? Do you think it is important to have the actual physical pieces of paper associated with historic events like the Battle of Baltimore? Discuss your answers.