Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Remember Which War?

The Canadian papers are starting to fill up with the planning for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  Yep, they call it the same thing up here.  Anyhow, I am curious is whether this is getting any play in the US.  For Canadians, this war is pretty significant, apparently.  Why?
  • Canadians can boast that they beat the Americans.  The only big battle the US won was after the formal declaration of peace--the Battle of New Orleans.  The British/French/first nations folks thwarted the American invasion, building some institutions (reserve units) that became part of the new Canadian federation in 1867.  Yes, fifty years later.  Things move slowly when it is cold (the time from the French and Indian Wars to the Revolutionary War in the US case was 12 years).
    • That the US lost most of the battles (they burned the capital, eh) and basically consider the war a draw explains why it is not so featured in the US.  Or is it?
  • The occasion plays to Canadian fears about American invasions since the US did actually try to invade Canada and seize hunks of territory.  Canadians will still occasionally voice concerns about American designs on Canadian oil and water.  This helps to provide just a bit of glue to Canadian identity--a shared modest anti-Americanism.
Anyhow, I will be tracking the festivities over the next couple of years. If any Americans spot significant remembrance activities, shoot me an email.


JWells said...

You guys were supposed to join us: "Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union." But I think there's a little more interest in the War in Southern Louisiana, because of the Battle of New Orleans, than, probably, the rest of the country. Well, except for it being the source of our national anthem, but I doubt many high school graduates could tell you that.

Robert McClelland said...

I'd consider the decisive American victory at Lake Champlain to be a big battle also.

Chris C. said...

The Americans also burned York and killed Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames (critical for eliminating united American Indian resistance in the Old Northwest). So not too bad overall, although there were plenty of blunders like Detroit and Bladensburg.