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Old 07-01-2016, 10:48 AM
Belisarius Belisarius is offline
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Did Canada win the War of 1812?

One can claim that from their standpoint Canada won. But more important than any outcome with Canada was that other European countries had to accept that the USA was a real nation, would remain so, and had to be dealt with as such, not as a runaway British child. You refer to the British prewar attitude that their sailors could not stop being British simply by signing a paper in New York or Boston. No nation at that time thought one could do so. In fact the whole idea of an entirely new nation would have been weird to any European. they identified race with nationality just as Greece did at least until the last few decades. A Greek who took US citizenship (in my youth at least) dared not return to Greece until he was past the age when he could be drafted. After all, how can someone whose ethnicity is Greek from time immemorial stop being Greek by signing a paper. That was a really novel American idea that the War of 1812 confirmed. On the world stage it was the most important result.
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:06 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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What column is this based on?
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:26 PM
Rhodes Rhodes is offline
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
What column is this based on?
Looks like http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...he-war-of-1812. "Did Canada win the War of 1812?"

Last edited by Rhodes; 07-01-2016 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 07-02-2016, 05:02 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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In response to the thread title, yeah, pretty much. Canada was recognized as its own self, which led to it becoming a proper dominion later. And we stopped invading it, pretty much.
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Old 07-02-2016, 05:07 PM
Poysyn Poysyn is offline
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Posting this. My daughter LOVES it and during that unit in Social Studies I heard it several times a day

Arrogant Worms - The War of 1812
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:26 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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GGGGGreat Grandad commanded US Navy forces at the Battle of Lake Champlain, so I've always been in favor (favour?) of annexing Canada. Or Canada annexing me. Either is cool.
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:26 PM
Maus Magill Maus Magill is offline
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Nothing to add, but I had taken my family to Toronto last week, and visited Fort York.

It was odd to hear of the US as the "Bad Guys". Fang, showing all the accumulated wisdom of a newly-minted thirteen year old, had to be reminded that we were guests in their country, and that chanting U-S-A was a Bad IdeaTM.
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Old 07-05-2016, 05:45 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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My favorite War of 1812 legend:

The Yanks invading York found what they thought was a "scalp" taken from an American by natives allied with the British, located in a prominent place inside the parliament buildings; this fueled their rage at the British supporting 'atrocities', so they burned Parliament to the ground, and fire-raised around the city (this later inspired the Brits to, famously, burn the White House in revenge).

In reality it was: the Speaker's wig!

The story may be a legend, but it is repeated in many sources:

https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/tag/speakers-wig/

Quote:
While they were looting the legislature, they found the Speaker’s wig which they sent to Washington as, “an example of British barbarity.” They thought it was a human scalp!
http://oldsaltfleetrecords.behindnel...oney_creek.htm

Quote:
Fort York and the parliament buildings (Toronto) had been captured on April 27th. It was at that time some U.S. troops discovered the speaker's wig and mace. Legend has it that they thought the wig was a scalp and used this discovery as their excuse to burn the town.

Though it may have been a judge's wig, and not the speaker's:

http://www.revparl.ca/english/issue....m=212&art=1489

Quote:
The first notable feature is that our legislative practice has never been a replica of English procedures. Once their chambers were established, the Members had desks, not benches, and voted by roll-call divisions as opposed to entering lobbies with tellers counting the votes. Norman French was never used in royal assent ceremonies. There is no evidence that the Speakers were wigged. When the Americans burned York (Toronto)’s Parliament Buildings in 1813, they took the wig suspended over the Speaker’s Chair as a scalp. It is often thought to be the Speaker’s wig. It was more likely the periwig of a judge since the chamber was used as a courthouse when the assembly was not sitting and in April 1813 when the invasion took place, it was not.
If the legend is true, that is surely the most bizarre misunderstanding of all time.
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:08 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
It was odd to hear of the US as the "Bad Guys".
Canada was the first foreign country the US invaded, in 1775, with a goal of conquest. Then again in 1812, burning down one of the colonial capitals as an act of war.

Je me souviens.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 07-06-2016 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 07-06-2016, 09:22 AM
Maus Magill Maus Magill is offline
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I'm not saying it was undeserved, just every battlefield I'd ever visited had been in the US.

One thing that did strike me about Fort York was how incredibly respectful the exhibits were to members of both armies.

Basically - I'd like to send more time in Toronto, if only to spend more time in the ROM.
  #12  
Old 07-06-2016, 11:26 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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While visiting the Ontario legislature this weekend, we saw the parliamentary mace which was taken by American troops during their raid. It was returned by FDR in 1934 as a friendly gesture.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:17 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
While visiting the Ontario legislature this weekend, we saw the parliamentary mace which was taken by American troops during their raid. It was returned by FDR in 1934 as a friendly gesture.

Did they ever give back the "scalp"?
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:37 PM
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Everybody won the war if 1812.

America burnt down York, now Toronto. (Winning!)

Later t'he Canadians/First Nations repelled the Americans, holding our border (winning!)

Having dealt with Napolean, the British had troops to spare to join in and retaliate on Washington, burning down the White House. (Winning!)

The Americans managed to hold New Orleans, in later important battles. (Winning!)

America was still a very young country with no standing army or war funding. The local militias often fled when they realized the Indians were fighting along side the Canadians. They'd been subjected to a campaign to fear and shoot natives on sight, by the US government wishing the west to be opened.

Funding was provided by the wealthy St Lawence valley farmers, with the proviso they not wage the war in their valley, thwarting several natural geographic spots where they might have cut off supply lines and turned fates.

The people who lost the war of 1812 were the First Nations people's of Canada, they were promised things by the Canadians/British solders on the ground that the crown felt no need whatsoever to honour. To do so might make them equals, peers, partners.

Their betrayal of the natives, like the burning of York, helped galvanize this country together, upon a mutual distrust of the crown, and a precarious Union of settlers, soldiers, natives, French, English and former Americans too!
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:34 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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A couple of other American scores were:
  • proving that, ton for ton, US ships were actually better,
  • holding off the RN at Baltimore, and
  • getting most of what we wanted, anyway, as a result of Waterloo.

By the way, don’t forget that the Americans also burned Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara-on-the-Lake hasn’t forgotten. (On the other hand, some years back I saw an open-air performance of The Devil’s Disciple at Fort George, so I guess all is forgiven—except on the historic signs, plaques, etc.)
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:02 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Did they ever give back the "scalp"?
Hadn't heard about the "scalp" before now, and it wasn't mentioned on our tour.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:43 AM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Hadn't heard about the "scalp" before now, and it wasn't mentioned on our tour.
I assume it is a sort of urban legend, though it gets repeated so frequently it is probably a very early one.

But I think it is very funny.

If it is true, at least arguably the "scalp" set in train the events that led to the White House being burned ...
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:56 AM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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A couple of other American scores were:
  • proving that, ton for ton, US ships were actually better,
  • holding off the RN at Baltimore, and
  • getting most of what we wanted, anyway, as a result of Waterloo.

By the way, don’t forget that the Americans also burned Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara-on-the-Lake hasn’t forgotten. (On the other hand, some years back I saw an open-air performance of The Devil’s Disciple at Fort George, so I guess all is forgiven—except on the historic signs, plaques, etc.)
Way I see it the Brits and the Yanks proved to each other's satisfaction that neither could beat the other decisively, at least with the sort of efforts they were willing to make. However, the Brits didn't start it and didn't really want to beat the Yanks, so that realization was a Brit victory. The alleged causes of the war were a mixed bag - naval impressment, gaining Canada, removing impediments to the Yanks crushing the natives, etc. - some of which would have happened anyway without war (naval impressment), and some of which (notably, gaining Canada) never happened - so in terms of war aims, the Yanks got the worse of the bargain.

The real outcomes of the war had nothing to do with who won or lost it. Rather, they were at least the following:

1. Creation of Canadian nationalism, which prior to that hadn't really existed: there was Quebec nationalism to be sure, but English Canadians variously viewed themselves more as Brits or Yanks (many in Ontario were from the US).

2. Convinced the Brits, Canucks and Yanks never to have a redo. The whole 'reciprocal burning of cities' thing was a horrific ordeal that no-one wanted to repeat; the fact neither side could win easily (the Yanks had expected support from the Canadian population which they didn't get - particularly after burning a couple of Canadian cities) convinced everyone it was a bad idea. Other than the Fenian nonsense, it hasn't been repeated. This was important later during the Civil War - the Brits may otherwise have been tempted to interfere (the South sure hoped they would).

3. The big losers were the native population. Convincing the Brits that war was a fundamentally bad idea under any circumstances undermined any support for their plight that was likely to come from the Brits. The Yanks gleefully dispossessed them while the Brits tactfully looked the other way.
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:28 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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The simplest answer is it was a draw, with both the New World states coming away with things that were a lot more important to them long term than to Britain. The post-war result and the peace treaty were basically returns to Status Quo Ante.

What I call the "myth" of Canada winning is largely based on the story that the War of 1812 was about American trying to invade and conquer Canada. The failed invasion during the American Revolution, under Benedict Arnold, was an actual attempt to "liberate" Canada and bring it into the Patriot fold. At very best the U.S. under Madison (and there are documented records of this) was the belief that America could seize Canada and use it as a bargaining chip to get British agreements on shipping, border forts and etc. There was essentially no ability for America to integrate an entity like Canada by force into the United States, there just wasn't a real mechanism for it or even capability for it given the supremely tiny Federal government of 1812. Most State militias (which were the bulk of America's fighting force) were not willing to leave their state to defend against British armies in 1812, so it's unimaginable they'd be willing to deploy to Canada for a permanent occupation.

America's attempted seizure of Canada as a tactical war aim failed, but that wasn't why the war happened.

The "myth" on the American side, very strong for many years (even right after the war) was that this was a "second war of independence" and that Britain was seeking to reconquer the colonies. While a few hardliners in Britain may have felt that way, the Brits were in a similar situation to us vis-a-vis Canada, they had already tried to hold us against our will and it was extremely costly and caused severe economic problems back home--and ended up being deeply unpopular. There are actually parallels (in 18th century form) with the British home front during the Revolution and the American home front during the Vietnam war.

Britain disliked American neutrality in this era because it tacitly benefited France/Napoleon to have access to American trade. That was the main reason for the antagonism of the Americans up to 1812. Once we declared war, Britain mostly just wanted to slap us down and shut us up without distracting them from the much larger European war.

The Revolution was a significant issue in Britain and caused the fall of several prime ministers and a series of domestic crises; the war of 1812 was essentially nothing, even as it was being fought, from the British perspective (due to the ongoing war with Napoleon.)
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:48 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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The simplest answer is it was a draw, with both the New World states coming away with things that were a lot more important to them long term than to Britain. The post-war result and the peace treaty were basically returns to Status Quo Ante.

What I call the "myth" of Canada winning is largely based on the story that the War of 1812 was about American trying to invade and conquer Canada. The failed invasion during the American Revolution, under Benedict Arnold, was an actual attempt to "liberate" Canada and bring it into the Patriot fold. At very best the U.S. under Madison (and there are documented records of this) was the belief that America could seize Canada and use it as a bargaining chip to get British agreements on shipping, border forts and etc. There was essentially no ability for America to integrate an entity like Canada by force into the United States, there just wasn't a real mechanism for it or even capability for it given the supremely tiny Federal government of 1812. Most State militias (which were the bulk of America's fighting force) were not willing to leave their state to defend against British armies in 1812, so it's unimaginable they'd be willing to deploy to Canada for a permanent occupation.

America's attempted seizure of Canada as a tactical war aim failed, but that wasn't why the war happened.

The "myth" on the American side, very strong for many years (even right after the war) was that this was a "second war of independence" and that Britain was seeking to reconquer the colonies. While a few hardliners in Britain may have felt that way, the Brits were in a similar situation to us vis-a-vis Canada, they had already tried to hold us against our will and it was extremely costly and caused severe economic problems back home--and ended up being deeply unpopular. There are actually parallels (in 18th century form) with the British home front during the Revolution and the American home front during the Vietnam war.

Britain disliked American neutrality in this era because it tacitly benefited France/Napoleon to have access to American trade. That was the main reason for the antagonism of the Americans up to 1812. Once we declared war, Britain mostly just wanted to slap us down and shut us up without distracting them from the much larger European war.

The Revolution was a significant issue in Britain and caused the fall of several prime ministers and a series of domestic crises; the war of 1812 was essentially nothing, even as it was being fought, from the British perspective (due to the ongoing war with Napoleon.)
The not unreasonable notion in America was that Canada wasn't going to need "occupation", because many English Canadians were, in fact, from America already and likely to join voluntarily; and French Canada was of course a British conquest, and so would be glad to join the US.

The notion wasn't that the US was aiming to subdue and occupy an enemy population, but rather, that the US was going to drive off the English Redcoats & fleet who were artificially holding Canadians - French and English - from "naturally" joining the US.

Hence Thomas Jefferson wrote:

Quote:
The acquisition of Canada, this year, as far as the neighbourhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching; & will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, & the final expulsion of England from the American continent.
http://www.napoleon-series.org/milit...Jefferson.html

Given these assumptions, there was no need for a "permanent occupation" and so lack of ability to accomplish that feat wasn't an important consideration. The English were to be driven out of their weakly held positions (a "mere matter of marching") and then "finally" expelled from North America.

Naturally, these war aims proved impossible during the course of the war - mostly because the war itself caused exactly the type of hostility between the populations that this war aim overlooked: as it turned out, burning and looting were not compatible with popular support.

In short, before the war there was (arguably) an "America" and a "British-occupied part of the American Continent". After the War, and largely as a result of the War, there was an "America" and a "Canada". While it was clearly impossible for "America" to have occupied a "Canada" given the military resources of 1812, it was not impossible for "America" to expand into the "British-occupied part of the American Continent", merely by turfing out the British Army: and that was what was originally planned.
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:28 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Madison's stated goal was to use Canada as a bargaining chip.

Jefferson was several years out of power by the time of the war, and Jefferson had always had somewhat non-mainstream revolutionary goals. For example he frequently wrote and spoke in a way that showed he felt "all" popular revolutions were "one and the same." He identified deeply with the French revolution for example, arguing that their throwing off their monarchy and ancien regime as the same exact revolution as the American revolution.

I think Jefferson probably would believe that, of course, all thinking people would, given the chance to oppress the thumb of an elite, be inclined to do so. So I could see him thinking Canadians of all stripes chafed under colonial status. But to be honest Jefferson's views and reality often didn't meet. His view of the revolution in France was incredibly incorrect, and even his view of the American Revolution (in which he was front and center) was also not really correct. Jefferson wanted our revolution to be about the things Jefferson thought they were about, but it was a mixed bag. There were certainly some Jeffersonian types in the revolution, and they also became a powerful force in American politics for many years on many issues, but the reality is it was establishment interests in America that lead not so much a popular revolution but an "usurpation" of British/Parliamentary power, with political power often held by British-born political appointees, being taken by local business and commercial elites.

I think Madison had a more practical viewpoint of reality, and never have seen much evidence he really thought Canada was going to spontaneously wish to become the next American state.
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:34 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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America was also in a state of grave political disarray leading up to the DOW in 1812, and during the war itself.

Madison and his faction within the Democratic party largely did have serious issues with things like British impressment and harassment of trading ships but he really didn't want war with Britain. He wasn't interested in any kind of territorial aggression, and he also was always kind of a scatterbrained leader once the war broke out because he wasn't a major advocate for it in the first place but he felt compelled to go along with the Congressional War Hawks. I'd say the 1812 war is probably the only war in American history, other than possibly the Spanish-American War, where political forces outside of the White House were the driving force for American participation.

The remnant Federalist party was 100% opposed to the war, and they actually wanted an American alliance with Britain against France, the last thing they wanted was war with Great Britain (and at times in the Northeast their behavior bordered on the treasonous during the war.)

The Western Democrats were the biggest advocates for war, and I think their prime goal was territorial expansion. Many of them probably did dream potentially of acquiring Canada, but I think their biggest goal was ending British support for native tribes, which was a major hindrance to western expansion. They were the ones who politicked heavily for war, lead major propaganda campaigns painting a very biased and overblown picture of British behavior and I think ultimately the ones who pushed Madison in to going to war.

I actually think that's why the War of 1812 is so misunderstood; because even contemporary Americans lacked a coherent strategy for the war or even a coherent casus belli for fighting it in the first place.

It's interesting the 1812 war is probably the most forgotten major American war, but in many ways it's very important to American history.
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:53 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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My friend from Manchester asked me about the war, I had to tell him he needs to ask a historian. He knew of it and the invasion of Washington, but it barely registers in their history. He was surprised when I told him most Americans didn't really know what it was about and that we that we taught in our schools that we won the war despite no reason to say so.

Good old America, we lose every battle during the War of 1812* and call it a victory, we win every battle in Vietnam and call it a loss**.

*Yeah, I said during, I know about New Orleans.
** I know, over simplifications of complex situations.
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:57 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Certainly, the Democrats wanted to convince New England and their own faction that the war was 'really' about naval matters (important to New England) and not about territorial expansion (not important to New England). However, there is no reason to take that seriously - New England remained throughout, as you say, opposed to the War: they weren't the driving force - they were the party who needed convincing (and that were not, in fact, convinced).

A more reasonable approach is to look at what the War Hawks who were in fact the prime motive force wanted. They wanted Westward expansion at the expense of the Natives - and they saw continued British presence on the NA continent as an impediment to that, figuring the Brits would always support the Natives.

The notion of holding onto Canada as a "bargaining chip" over naval impressment makes little sense - once America had Canada (and assuming the people living there didn't care who the government was - a quite reasonable assumption, given the huge percentage of English Canadians in Upper Canada were, in fact, recent American immigrants) - why would they just hand it back? To save their shipping from British reprisals? Perhaps - certainly the notion that the Brits would take it out on American shipping worried the New English (who were largely against the war).

But looking at other examples of American wars in the 19th century - the tendency was clearly, where American armies marched, they tended to stay, or at least bite off huge territorial chunks: see Mexico.

The War Hawks would have simply argued that it made no sense to hand over territory to the Brits who were likely to go on supporting the natives against them. The notion of annexing large parts, or maybe all, of Canada once the British continental armies had been defeated makes perfect sense: and the Brits had few troops to spare, being involved in a life-or-death struggle with Nappy at the moment.

Had the American invasions of Upper Canada been successful in the War of 1812, would southern Ontario be a part of Canada today? I venture to doubt it - and with Southern Ontario gone, and the War Hawks leading the charge for Western expansion, what was to stop the US taking what is now Western Canada in the fullness of time?
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:01 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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My friend from Manchester asked me about the war, I had to tell him he needs to ask a historian. He knew of it and the invasion of Washington, but it barely registers in their history. He was surprised when I told him most Americans didn't really know what it was about and that we that we taught in our schools that we won the war despite no reason to say so.

Good old America, we lose every battle during the War of 1812* and call it a victory, we win every battle in Vietnam and call it a loss**.

*Yeah, I said during, I know about New Orleans.
** I know, over simplifications of complex situations.
Some wag once said "the British have never forgotten the War of 1812, because they never knew about it in the first place". Or words to that effect.

Fact is, to the Brits the War was an annoying sideshow to the main event, that being the titanic struggle against Napoleon.
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:57 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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I think a counterpoint to that theory is the fact that the President is the Commander in Chief and responsible for military strategy (one area in which even the earliest executives essentially had just as much power as the current president--although Congress didn't give them the fancy standing armies in peacetime.) I think Madison had a much closer to realistic view of his country's ability to hold parts of Canada in opposition to its people's wishes, or especially in opposition to British desires. So while I don't at all doubt many Congressional War Hawks probably wanted Canada, and assumed she'd be ripe for the plucking, I think given Madison's position the "real threat" of Canada being conquered and becoming part of America is lower than perhaps is generally assumed.

I do guess at least part of it would come down to the British. I lean towards thinking they would not have abandoned their Canada to the colonials, and would have sent as many armies as necessary (and they certainly had them by the end of the war since the Napoleonic War was over) to get it back. But let's posit they do essentially abandon Canada. Would Canada have stayed, or would she have fought? That I don't know. I venture it's at least possible they'd have just integrated into the United States. One advantage of the early federal constitution is that the Federal government was pretty damn uninvolved. I could imagine a scenario in which two states are carved out, one English one French, and given the extremely light hand of the Federal government they may have found it easy enough that a massive nationalist/freedom movement wouldn't have arisen. Plus, I'm not sure how much "Canadian nationalism" there was. The French Canadians identified as French people and their main support for the Crown was their belief it protected them from Anglo domination. They weren't necessarily wrapped up in any concepts of "Canada", so they may have been less likely to rebel. But a lot of the Anglo Canadians of the time were "United Empire Loyalists", families that had been given land grants in Canada to compensate them for lands they had lost in the lower thirteen colonies. Considering they had fled the lower thirteen to remain loyal to the crown, and many of them had fought for the crown during the Revolution I dunno that I see them going quietly, and America of 1815 was simply not capable of holding onto a state of that size and people that didn't want to be part of the union. If any of the states had seceded back then I think the Federal government quite possibly would've just acquiesced to it, for example.

But, I do I guess concede the possibility would be there if America had won some of the early battles and occupied Canada. A war-weary Britain writes off the last of its colonies on continental North America, the French adjust pretty well into the strong-state Federal system, and maybe UEL crown loyalty just isn't powerful enough for people to fight on without the support of the crown.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:32 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
Nothing to add, but I had taken my family to Toronto last week, and visited Fort York.

It was odd to hear of the US as the "Bad Guys". Fang, showing all the accumulated wisdom of a newly-minted thirteen year old, had to be reminded that we were guests in their country, and that chanting U-S-A was a Bad IdeaTM.
Fang might not want to visit the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:39 AM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
I think a counterpoint to that theory is the fact that the President is the Commander in Chief and responsible for military strategy (one area in which even the earliest executives essentially had just as much power as the current president--although Congress didn't give them the fancy standing armies in peacetime.) I think Madison had a much closer to realistic view of his country's ability to hold parts of Canada in opposition to its people's wishes, or especially in opposition to British desires. So while I don't at all doubt many Congressional War Hawks probably wanted Canada, and assumed she'd be ripe for the plucking, I think given Madison's position the "real threat" of Canada being conquered and becoming part of America is lower than perhaps is generally assumed.

I do guess at least part of it would come down to the British. I lean towards thinking they would not have abandoned their Canada to the colonials, and would have sent as many armies as necessary (and they certainly had them by the end of the war since the Napoleonic War was over) to get it back. But let's posit they do essentially abandon Canada. Would Canada have stayed, or would she have fought? That I don't know. I venture it's at least possible they'd have just integrated into the United States. One advantage of the early federal constitution is that the Federal government was pretty damn uninvolved. I could imagine a scenario in which two states are carved out, one English one French, and given the extremely light hand of the Federal government they may have found it easy enough that a massive nationalist/freedom movement wouldn't have arisen. Plus, I'm not sure how much "Canadian nationalism" there was. The French Canadians identified as French people and their main support for the Crown was their belief it protected them from Anglo domination. They weren't necessarily wrapped up in any concepts of "Canada", so they may have been less likely to rebel. But a lot of the Anglo Canadians of the time were "United Empire Loyalists", families that had been given land grants in Canada to compensate them for lands they had lost in the lower thirteen colonies. Considering they had fled the lower thirteen to remain loyal to the crown, and many of them had fought for the crown during the Revolution I dunno that I see them going quietly, and America of 1815 was simply not capable of holding onto a state of that size and people that didn't want to be part of the union. If any of the states had seceded back then I think the Federal government quite possibly would've just acquiesced to it, for example.

But, I do I guess concede the possibility would be there if America had won some of the early battles and occupied Canada. A war-weary Britain writes off the last of its colonies on continental North America, the French adjust pretty well into the strong-state Federal system, and maybe UEL crown loyalty just isn't powerful enough for people to fight on without the support of the crown.
I think that, before the War, it was totally feasible to see two US states of Upper and Lower Canada (and maybe a third, for what is now Nova Scotia/New Brunswick/PEI).

There was some pre-War Loyalist sentiment among the settlers in Upper Canada and Nova Scotia, but not very much: some had been "United Empire Loyalists" who had fled the Revolution; but far more had been Americans no different from the Americans in America, who had gone north for economic opportunities.

In Nova Scotia, the largest proportion of the population had come from New England, to replace the expelled Acadians (on a side-note, my paternal ancestors were among them - they trace their heritage to the Cape Cod area originally).

This is what gets frequently overlooked because of hindsight - that there was really very little "nationalist" feeling to stop the Americans before the War. That was something the War more or less created. Prior to the War, it was totally feasible for the English-speaking population to have seen themselves mostly as "Americans" who just happened to be living under British rule. In the case of the French-speaking population, well they had been conquered - so a case could be made that the US turfing out the British army was a liberation.

When you look at it in that light, suddenly the US plans make a hell of a lot more sense. They were not set on subduing an enemy population, they were set on freeing future (and in many cases, past) Americans from British overlordship.

The problem was that this did not materialize in the actual conduct of the War. The Americans did not treat the areas they had taken (temporarily) as "liberated", but rather let loose with looting and burning - leading to an escalating series of cross-border incidents of looting and burning: York, Niagara on the Lake, Washington, to name three famous examples.

Mostly I suspect this was originally down to lack of strict discipline - at York for example many senior officers were killed in the explosion of the fort's magazine, so it is small wonder the troops ran wild. But cross-border looting and burning created the very nationalist antagonism that made it impossible to see the War as a liberation.
  #29  
Old 07-08-2016, 10:49 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Yeah, the looting/burning of Canadian cities is something I only know about in the abstract, but given the extremely poor state of the U.S. military prior to the war it's not at all surprising to me they were undisciplined.

Young men torn away from their homes with minimal training, given guns and put in combat, is a historical "bad situation" for civilian populations.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:11 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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I don’t know how much it factored into 1812, but the Revolutionary attempt to take Québec was ruined (in part) by Britain’s wise realization from the beginning that the Québecois would have to be jollied along. (The Acadians were a separate French colony with different origins.) Roman Catholics in Québec were given far more civil rights than Roman Catholics had in Britain, and the French legal system was preserved as far as possible. So, when New Englanders, with a much more extreme history of Protestantism than Britain itself, arrived saying, “We’re going to liberate you!”, the Québecois didn’t care to hear it.
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  #31  
Old 07-09-2016, 01:29 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Especially since the enactment of the Quebec Act, which protected the rights of Québécois, was one of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence. Hard to persuade the Québécois that switching to the revolutionary side would be a good thing.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 07-09-2016 at 01:30 AM.
  #32  
Old 07-11-2016, 10:17 AM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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The Quebec Act was clearly intended to win "hearts and minds" of the French population for the Crown, but allegedly it was not a great success in doing that:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec..._the_Canadians

The Americans could reasonably have anticipated that people in Quebec would be basically indifferent to whether the Brits or the Yanks ruled (that at least is what the British feared, in the earlier Revolutionary war). As in Upper Canada, though the turnaround was maybe not as severe, the actual experience of being invaded tended to harden attitudes against the invaders.

...

On a completely random side-note, my parents have a cottage in Oro-Medonte township, just north of Barrie, Ontario. To get there, we drive past a building called the "African Episcopal Church". Apparently, the whole area was originally settled by Blacks who had fought for the British - deliberately placed there by the Crown, to act as a buffer against American invasion after the War of 1812! (The theory was that, being Black, they would have extra incentive to fight against invading Americans who could be expected to enslave them).

Though what military use such a tiny number had, I'm not sure.

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Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church was built by African Canadians. The Oro Black settlement was a unique approach to integrating African Canadians into a farming community. The idea for an African Canadian community originated in 1783 with Sir Guy Carleton, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America. During the American Revolution, Carleton had promised that the slaves of non-Loyalists who joined the British Army would have their freedom and protection from re-enslavement. Black soldiers not only fought with the British during the American Revolution, but also as the “Coloured Corps”, a trusted unit of the Upper Canadian militia during the War of 1812. Between 1819 and 1826, the British granted 25 plots of land in Oro County to Black settlers, eleven of them former soldiers who received their grants in acknowledgement of military service. Although the area had strategic value, the land was both remote and agriculturally poor. Only nine of the original grant recipients took up their plots, settling along an area of the Penatanguishine Road known as Wilberforce Street. In 1829-1831, the settlement was augmented by thirty more families.
http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-....aspx?id=12100

The whole community eventually faded away - the land wasn't the best, and originally it was far from anywhere; and with the end of the US Civil War, the threat of enslavement had passed.
  #33  
Old 07-12-2016, 02:31 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Good old America, we lose every battle during the War of 1812* and call it a victory, . . .

*Yeah, I said during, I know about New Orleans.
This war always brings out erroneous opinions from descendants of all the combatants.

It is not true that the U.S. lost every battle.

The Brits (or their Indian allies) had a number of strong victories holding the Yanks who had crossed the Niagara River, (at least until the Yanks got past them to burn York before being forced back, again), and then taking Detroit, Fort Dearborn, (Chicago), Mackinac Island, and a few other places. However, after the Yanks took control of Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron with their connecting rivers, the Yanks were able to beat the British/Indian alliance back in the following years, retaking land and forts that were lost in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, and advancing into Upper Canada (Ontario), culminating in a crushing defeat of the alliance at the Battle of the Thames. On the other hand, the expiring enlistments of many of the militia that made up that force caused the Yanks to retire to Detroit where they hung around to the end of the war. Victories included the Tippecanoe battles, the battle at Fallen Timbers, the two sieges of Fort Miegs, the retaking of Mackinac Island, the two defenses of Sackett's Harbor, the Battle of the Thames, various battles at Plattsburgh, etc.
Fort Dearborn/Chicago and the lands to the North and West of it were held by the British/Indian Alliance until the Treaty of Ghent.

The "Canadians" did not burn Washington.

While there may have been a few men from what is now Canada who were among the British troops, the regiments selected to make the raid were drawn from troops who had been fighting in Spain against Napoleon, not militia selected from Upper or Lower Canada. As to being "Canadian," the Yank assaults probably did a lot to persuade the British living North of the St. Lawrence to regard themselves as Canadians, but they probably still regarded themselves as British at that time.

The Indians, the only overall losers of the war, lost British support and were eventually driven from their lands by encroaching Yank settlers.
  #34  
Old 07-12-2016, 03:12 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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The Americans indeed won their share of battles, at land and at sea. As far as the native Americans go, these proved decisive.

However, winning a plurality of battles wasn't sufficient, when they were the aggressors and their war aim was to take Canada (whether as a "bargaining chip" or permanently). The see-saw pattern of wins and losses merely served to harden nationalist attitudes on both sides of the border. To win, the Americans had to drive the Redcoats out, and that didn't happen.
  #35  
Old 07-13-2016, 11:52 AM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by Malthus View Post
The Americans indeed won their share of battles, at land and at sea. As far as the native Americans go, these proved decisive.

However, winning a plurality of battles wasn't sufficient, when they were the aggressors and their war aim was to take Canada (whether as a "bargaining chip" or permanently). The see-saw pattern of wins and losses merely served to harden nationalist attitudes on both sides of the border. To win, the Americans had to drive the Redcoats out, and that didn't happen.
And by the same token, a win for the Brits would have meant that they would be free to impress US sailors at will, would contain the US to a small sea board nation that they could dominate, and they could guide who and how we traded.

I think those saying this was a draw are the closest to the mark. The US achieved most of it's core war aims, which were to allow US expansion south and west without British interference and a halt to British impressment of our sailors, and Canada remained Canada and wasn't either a bargaining chip OR an annexed new region broken up into US states (though I honestly don't see how that was ever a viable aim, regardless). The true losers were the native peoples.
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:09 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
And by the same token, a win for the Brits would have meant that they would be free to impress US sailors at will, would contain the US to a small sea board nation that they could dominate, and they could guide who and how we traded.

I think those saying this was a draw are the closest to the mark. The US achieved most of it's core war aims, which were to allow US expansion south and west without British interference and a halt to British impressment of our sailors, and Canada remained Canada and wasn't either a bargaining chip OR an annexed new region broken up into US states (though I honestly don't see how that was ever a viable aim, regardless). The true losers were the native peoples.
I agree that the true losers were the native peoples, but I disagree on the British war aims.

The British, simply put, did not want war; they had enough on their plate with Nappy. Their "war aims" were simply to avoid having Canada stripped from them. Having achieved this, their victory was secure.

Naval impressment simply became a non-issue with the end of the Napoleonic Wars. It wasn't even mentioned in the peace treaty. In fact, the negotiators of the Treaty of Ghent refused to include any acknowledgement of US maritime rights - but then, the British had already ceased their practice of impressing Americans, while the war of 1812 was on. The War, in short, did not win that point - the coming to an end of the Napoleonic Wars won it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Ghent

While it is a bit of a historical "what if", I can't see Britain as declaring war in support of its native allies, had the US expanded to the South and West in the absence of the War of 1812. That expansion was, like the naval impressment issue, probably going to be settled in the US favour anyway, war or no war. The natives were simply not a match for the US, even with British support in the form of trade and guns.
  #37  
Old 07-13-2016, 12:19 PM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by Malthus
The British, simply put, did not want war; they had enough on their plate with Nappy. Their "war aims" were simply to avoid having Canada stripped from them. Having achieved this, their victory was secure.

Naval impressment simply became a non-issue with the end of the Napoleonic Wars. It wasn't even mentioned in the peace treaty. In fact, the negotiators of the Treaty of Ghent refused to include any acknowledgement of US maritime rights - but then, the British had already ceased their practice of impressing Americans, while the war of 1812 was on. The War, in short, did not win that point - the coming to an end of the Napoleonic Wars won it.
Sorry, but if they had negotiated in good faith before the conflict wrt things like impression of sailors then the war wouldn't have happened. And it WAS a big deal...and they knew we thought it was, since we sent enough notes to them about it, even sending a delegation. Your assertion that it was the end of the Napoleonic Wars that stopped it is both hindsight and speculative, since we don't know what the situation would have been had the Brits been overwhelmingly victorious in the war of 1812, or had the war never happened and the US just taken things like impression of their sailors and civilians without protest. Would the Brits have felt that any time they needed sailors for their fleet that they could just impress them from US ships? Would they have felt that the US needed to take a back seat on trade to the Brits as well?

It's also speculative of you to say that the Brits wouldn't have gone to war over US westward expansion. Personally, I think that the Brits would have felt free to pressure the US to stifle their trade and in their further westward expansion as they felt they could do what they wanted wrt our sailors and civilians, and this would have become even more entrenched without the war of 1812.
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:58 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Sorry, but if they had negotiated in good faith before the conflict wrt things like impression of sailors then the war wouldn't have happened. And it WAS a big deal...and they knew we thought it was, since we sent enough notes to them about it, even sending a delegation. Your assertion that it was the end of the Napoleonic Wars that stopped it is both hindsight and speculative, since we don't know what the situation would have been had the Brits been overwhelmingly victorious in the war of 1812, or had the war never happened and the US just taken things like impression of their sailors and civilians without protest. Would the Brits have felt that any time they needed sailors for their fleet that they could just impress them from US ships? Would they have felt that the US needed to take a back seat on trade to the Brits as well?
It isn't "speculative", since the end of the Napoleonic Wars meant the end of the necessity to impress anyone (Yank or Brit) as sailors. At the end of each major war in this time period, the Brits would "pay off" large portions of the fleet - many of the ships would go out of commission, their officers would go on "half pay", and their crews would simply be let go.

That would not be any different if the Brits had won in 1812, or not fought at all. No Napoleonic wars = no need for impressment to man the fleet, because most of the fleet was 'laid up'. This only makes sense, as paying for an enormous fleet at full strength when there was no war to fight would be foolish.

Not sure why this point is apparently controversial.

More controversially - the notion that it was impressment alone that sparked the war is to uncritically accept Madison's propaganda at face value. Certainly, if that was the case it is odd to say the least that the New England states (the ones most involved in matters of shipping and trade) were dead set against the war, while the "War Hawks" came from the Western states, who lacked sailors; or to fail to notice that, as I said earlier, the ostensible cause of the war doesn't even rate a mention in the peace treaty!

Quote:
It's also speculative of you to say that the Brits wouldn't have gone to war over US westward expansion.
Unlike the previous point, sure, this is speculative: I said as much in my post ("While it is a bit of a historical "what if" ..."). However, it is speculation based on some sound facts: namely, that the Brits were exhausted and drained by the 20 years of war they had gone through, and had small appetite for more of the same, just to support some native allies.

Quote:
Personally, I think that the Brits would have felt free to pressure the US to stifle their trade and in their further westward expansion as they felt they could do what they wanted wrt our sailors and civilians, and this would have become even more entrenched without the war of 1812.

This assumes the Brits were, for some reason, incapable of making decisions based on factors like relative power, without being shown the way with war.

I realize it is part of the American mythology that the war was a sort of moral victory, even if it wasn't a physical one.

However, facts are facts: when a country wages aggressive war to take a certain territory, and that territory is not taken, the aggressor has lost. It is not "a draw", because the defender had no particular interest in taking the territory of the aggressor.
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Old 07-13-2016, 02:40 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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I see you go back to that--but the point remains, there is no clear evidence it was an "aggressive war to take territory." The U.S. started the war, but wars aren't always fought over territory. We fought a war against the Barbary pirates, and did seize territory during the war--but never with an intention of "taking" territory.

We actually seized territory in the War of 1812 as well (as did the British.) I go back to thinking that while a strong contingent of the Western War Hawks did legitimately want Canada, I really don't know how we can ignore the Commander-in-Chiefs words on the matter. In our system of government it's the President who decides on war strategy.

Madison made a "recommendation" (albeit he concludes it by hemming and hawing around politically exposing himself with a formal recommendation) you can read here, and it exclusively talks about naval issues. Additionally Madison actually asserts that Great Britain is already waging war against the United States, that the U.S. is at peace but Britain is waging war against it. In the later declaration of war itself, the document even uses that phrasing, saying that it is declared "to exist" between the two countries. (The DOW is short and found here.)

I agree Canada "may" have been in peril of conquest, but I think the risk of that was very small. I think while you can certainly argue that the U.S. may have attempted to keep Canada had it conquered it, that is highly speculative. The weight of evidence suggests Madison (the one who actually set U.S. war policy) didn't have any real territorial designs on Canada. The U.S. isn't a Westminster style system, we have serious divisions between legislative/executive, so the opinion of a wing of the Democratic-Republican party aren't the same as the actual war strategy or goals as promulgated in the executive branch.

This is one part of the War of 1812 I have studied extensively--and I've never found a single official document or record of a speech in which a member of the administration advocated for or indicated a plan to conquer Canada. I'm aware of several Congressional speeches to that effect--and statements of Madison indicating a desire to seize Canadian territory temporarily, but only for leverage.

Last edited by Martin Hyde; 07-13-2016 at 02:41 PM.
  #40  
Old 07-13-2016, 02:46 PM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by Malthus
It isn't "speculative", since the end of the Napoleonic Wars meant the end of the necessity to impress anyone (Yank or Brit) as sailors. At the end of each major war in this time period, the Brits would "pay off" large portions of the fleet - many of the ships would go out of commission, their officers would go on "half pay", and their crews would simply be let go.

That would not be any different if the Brits had won in 1812, or not fought at all. No Napoleonic wars = no need for impressment to man the fleet, because most of the fleet was 'laid up'. This only makes sense, as paying for an enormous fleet at full strength when there was no war to fight would be foolish.

Not sure why this point is apparently controversial.
It's speculative because, as you say they would pay off the fleet and downsize when they weren't at war, but would be right back impressing again when and if they did need more sailors. Yes, the end of the NW meant a downsize...that's not speculative. But it IS speculative to say that this meant the RN would never do so again against US sailors or citizens down the line. Basically, the war of 1812 stopped that practice for all time.

It's also hindsight...since the then preyed upon US sailors and citizens and US government didn't know that the NW were going to end, or that the RN would be paying off and downsizing their force, and that, assuming they survived the inhuman conditions in the RN fleet and the various actions presumably those impressed sailors and citizens of the US would then be free to go home. In theory.

Quote:
More controversially - the notion that it was impressment alone that sparked the war is to uncritically accept Madison's propaganda at face value. Certainly, if that was the case it is odd to say the least that the New England states (the ones most involved in matters of shipping and trade) were dead set against the war, while the "War Hawks" came from the Western states, who lacked sailors; or to fail to notice that, as I said earlier, the ostensible cause of the war doesn't even rate a mention in the peace treaty!
It was one of several reasons the US went to war with the British. I never said it was the only one.

Quote:
Unlike the previous point, sure, this is speculative: I said as much in my post ("While it is a bit of a historical "what if" ..."). However, it is speculation based on some sound facts: namely, that the Brits were exhausted and drained by the 20 years of war they had gone through, and had small appetite for more of the same, just to support some native allies.
Again, this is hindsight, and maybe it would have factored in, and maybe not. Certainly a defeated US or a US that bowed to the British and did what they ordered would have been in a far weaker position wrt that expansion.

Quote:
This assumes the Brits were, for some reason, incapable of making decisions based on factors like relative power, without being shown the way with war.
I think they were arrogant enough to feel that the US should do what we were told. And I think that this isn't something they substantially changed until after their empire started to unravel after WWI.

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realize it is part of the American mythology that the war was a sort of moral victory, even if it wasn't a physical one.
It was both a moral and physical victory for the US, IMHO. It consolidated the country. It opened the way for southern and western expansion. It solidified the fact that we WERE our own nation, and that we were free to trade as we liked and our citizens were not open to impressment by foreign powers. Likewise Canada won. The British, for who this was a side show won as well, since they defeated Bony, solidified their place at that time as THE per-eminent super power on the planet, and set the stage for a much expanded and more powerful US who was not continental in size to normalize relationships and even come to the aid of the old mother country in it's time of need. Like I said, the only losers were the native peoples, who got fucked (well, and Spain, who we swiped a bunch of land from, first in Florida and later in the south west).

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However, facts are facts: when a country wages aggressive war to take a certain territory, and that territory is not taken, the aggressor has lost. It is not "a draw", because the defender had no particular interest in taking the territory of the aggressor.
Horseshit. And when one of the parties was playing passive aggressive dominance games, getting them to back the fuck off and stop playing them and treating you like a real nation IS a win.
  #41  
Old 07-13-2016, 02:56 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Originally Posted by tomndebb View Post
...[U.S.] Victories included the Tippecanoe battles, the battle at Fallen Timbers, the two sieges of Fort Miegs, the retaking of Mackinac Island, the two defenses of Sackett's Harbor, the Battle of the Thames, various battles at Plattsburgh, etc....
As an Ohioan, I feel compelled to add Commodore Perry's big win in the Battle of Lake Erie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lake_Erie
  #42  
Old 07-13-2016, 03:03 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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I see you go back to that--but the point remains, there is no clear evidence it was an "aggressive war to take territory." The U.S. started the war, but wars aren't always fought over territory. We fought a war against the Barbary pirates, and did seize territory during the war--but never with an intention of "taking" territory.

We actually seized territory in the War of 1812 as well (as did the British.) I go back to thinking that while a strong contingent of the Western War Hawks did legitimately want Canada, I really don't know how we can ignore the Commander-in-Chiefs words on the matter. In our system of government it's the President who decides on war strategy.

Madison made a "recommendation" (albeit he concludes it by hemming and hawing around politically exposing himself with a formal recommendation) you can read here, and it exclusively talks about naval issues. Additionally Madison actually asserts that Great Britain is already waging war against the United States, that the U.S. is at peace but Britain is waging war against it. In the later declaration of war itself, the document even uses that phrasing, saying that it is declared "to exist" between the two countries. (The DOW is short and found here.)
Well, of course you would not really expect the President of the United States to say something like "Those damned Brits are occupied in a war to the knife with Nappy - why don't we just take whatever we can from them in the North and West when their backs are turned? Who's with me now?" - would you?

Naturally, they will make the case that the US is just defending itself and its just rights. As it happened, the major irritants du jour were naval, so those are the justifications that got trotted out. Only to be conveniently forgotten when the war ended.

But as you know, naval matters did not really matter a damn to the War Hawks who were pushing for the war. If it was up to Madison, the war would not have happened at all.

Quote:
I agree Canada "may" have been in peril of conquest, but I think the risk of that was very small. I think while you can certainly argue that the U.S. may have attempted to keep Canada had it conquered it, that is highly speculative.
Whether the US meant to take Canada forever, or use it as a "bargaining chip" isn't really material to this particular issue - fact is, the US invaded Canada to take it for some reason, and that invasion simply wasn't a success. Some territory was gained, but some was lost - it was a wash.

The invading country failed its ostensible war aim - namely, a successful invasion. No territory was gained, no "bargaining chip" even.

Quote:
This is one part of the War of 1812 I have studied extensively--and I've never found a single official document or record of a speech in which a member of the administration advocated for or indicated a plan to conquer Canada. I'm aware of several Congressional speeches to that effect--and statements of Madison indicating a desire to seize Canadian territory temporarily, but only for leverage.
Again, if it was up to Madison the war would not have happened - and in any event, no "bargaining chip" was gained.

Fact is, the Administration wasn't really driving the bus on this war, so you have to look beyond the administration to understand why it was fought and what its true aims were.

There is no doubt that British naval high-handedness worsened relations and handed the Hawks a ready-made excuse for fighting. But equally, there is no doubt that the timing of the fight was awfully convenient (that is, while the Brits were in the War with Nappy neck-deep with nothing to spare for the colonies), that the "War Hawks" who were really motivating things were thinking more of expansion of the US than they were or matters naval, and that the President was dragooned into the fight against his own inclinations.

As for "no plans to conquer Canada" - what were US armies doing invading across the border? They were not there for their health, but to drive the Brits out, to defeat them. What is that, if not a conquest?
  #43  
Old 07-13-2016, 03:17 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
It's speculative because, as you say they would pay off the fleet and downsize when they weren't at war, but would be right back impressing again when and if they did need more sailors. Yes, the end of the NW meant a downsize...that's not speculative. But it IS speculative to say that this meant the RN would never do so again against US sailors or citizens down the line. Basically, the war of 1812 stopped that practice for all time.
No, it didn't. The end of the Napoleonic Wars ended the practice of impressment, period.

Even if your theory was correct - how exactly would the Brits being deterred from impressing Yanks cause the Brits to not impress - other Brits?

That makes no sense. Yet the practice, in effect if not in law, ended after the Wars.

Quote:
British impressment ended, in practice but not law after 1814, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.[22] In 1835 legislation was passed exempting seamen who had been pressed and subsequently served for more than five years from further impressment. The practice had however fallen into abeyance well before that date, although the opportunity was taken to state that the Crown still had the right of impressment if necessary. In 1853 a new system of fixed-term engagements gave the Royal Navy a sufficient number of volunteer recruits to meet its manpower needs until World War I, when conscription was used for all the military services. In the intervening period, with much reduced manpower needs and improved conditions of service, the navy was able to rely on voluntary enlistment, plus the recall of reservists when necessary, to meet its requirements.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impres...of_impressment

The War of 1812 did not end impressment - it died a natural death, and clearly would have even if the War of 1812 never happened.

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It's also hindsight...since the then preyed upon US sailors and citizens and US government didn't know that the NW were going to end, or that the RN would be paying off and downsizing their force, and that, assuming they survived the inhuman conditions in the RN fleet and the various actions presumably those impressed sailors and citizens of the US would then be free to go home. In theory.
I have no idea how this adds to your point, which I understood to be that the War of 1812 was a victory because it ended impressment.

In my mind, you are mistaking correlation with causation. You are also apparently conflating the alleged cause of the war with its results.

The War of 1812 ended at around the same time as the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Compared with the Napoleonic Wars, the War of 1812 was a pimple to a gushing wound. The end of the Napoleonic Wars brought with it the end of the Brits straining every nerve to increase the size of their fleets - and so, an end to impressment, which was never thereafter used.

The next war that really required the Brits to strain every nerve to increase their navy was - WW1.

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I think they were arrogant enough to feel that the US should do what we were told. And I think that this isn't something they substantially changed until after their empire started to unravel after WWI.

It was both a moral and physical victory for the US, IMHO. It consolidated the country. It opened the way for southern and western expansion. It solidified the fact that we WERE our own nation, and that we were free to trade as we liked and our citizens were not open to impressment by foreign powers. Likewise Canada won. The British, for who this was a side show won as well, since they defeated Bony, solidified their place at that time as THE per-eminent super power on the planet, and set the stage for a much expanded and more powerful US who was not continental in size to normalize relationships and even come to the aid of the old mother country in it's time of need. Like I said, the only losers were the native peoples, who got fucked (well, and Spain, who we swiped a bunch of land from, first in Florida and later in the south west).

Horseshit. And when one of the parties was playing passive aggressive dominance games, getting them to back the fuck off and stop playing them and treating you like a real nation IS a win.
That all relies on accepting a good deal of your say-so about British motivations.
  #44  
Old 07-13-2016, 03:48 PM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malthus
No, it didn't. The end of the Napoleonic Wars ended the practice of impressment, period.
Most of that probably had more to do with there was no need for the RN to impress sailors at the rate they were doing during the NW, but ok...I concede the point. I actually was looking it up when you posted and had found the same Wiki link.

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Even if your theory was correct - how exactly would the Brits being deterred from impressing Yanks cause the Brits to not impress - other Brits?
That wasn't my point...apparently you didn't get it, but it seems moot so I'll just move on.

Quote:
I have no idea how this adds to your point, which I understood to be that the War of 1812 was a victory because it ended impressment.
My point was that, from the US's perspective it ended a foreign power being able to impress OUR CITIZENS. That the RN decided to end them for it's own was probably of supreme indifference to us. But if they ended it after the NW anyway, it certainly means that, regardless of the outcome they would have stopped impressing our people. So, ok...I concede the point. I think the others are still valid. And it was still a very sore subject from our perspective and one of the major irritation points in why the US went to war. That the point became moot in hindsight perhaps simply means that the Brits saw the error of their ways. Or, as you point out, they just didn't have any more enemies in their weight class to fight after France went down. It was a relatively peaceful time in Europe (one of the few), and left the Brits time to play around with the rest of their empire.

Quote:
That all relies on accepting a good deal of your say-so about British motivations.
As your assertions rely on your own interpretations of Rah Rah AMERICA! Fuck Yeah! motivations for thinking that the US gained from the war as well. You seem fixated on the fact we didn't annex Canada as the primary reason we 'lost' and they 'won', but in fact that wasn't our own over arching goal. We got the Brits to stop impressing our citizens (yeah, they did that anyway), we got a pretty much free hand without continued interference in our southerns and western expansion and an end to the Brits supporting native tribes against us, we got an open hand wrt our trade and British restrictions...and we got treated as a full nation state. To me, that's a draw by any reasonable standards. It's certainly not a loss.
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:08 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
Most of that probably had more to do with there was no need for the RN to impress sailors at the rate they were doing during the NW, but ok...I concede the point. I actually was looking it up when you posted and had found the same Wiki link.



That wasn't my point...apparently you didn't get it, but it seems moot so I'll just move on.



My point was that, from the US's perspective it ended a foreign power being able to impress OUR CITIZENS. That the RN decided to end them for it's own was probably of supreme indifference to us. But if they ended it after the NW anyway, it certainly means that, regardless of the outcome they would have stopped impressing our people. So, ok...I concede the point. I think the others are still valid. And it was still a very sore subject from our perspective and one of the major irritation points in why the US went to war. That the point became moot in hindsight perhaps simply means that the Brits saw the error of their ways. Or, as you point out, they just didn't have any more enemies in their weight class to fight after France went down. It was a relatively peaceful time in Europe (one of the few), and left the Brits time to play around with the rest of their empire.



As your assertions rely on your own interpretations of Rah Rah AMERICA! Fuck Yeah! motivations for thinking that the US gained from the war as well. You seem fixated on the fact we didn't annex Canada as the primary reason we 'lost' and they 'won', but in fact that wasn't our own over arching goal. We got the Brits to stop impressing our citizens (yeah, they did that anyway), we got a pretty much free hand without continued interference in our southerns and western expansion and an end to the Brits supporting native tribes against us, we got an open hand wrt our trade and British restrictions...and we got treated as a full nation state. To me, that's a draw by any reasonable standards. It's certainly not a loss.
While I do think that the US wished to expand to the North as well as to the West (and really, why would it not?), my point isn't that the US lost because it failed to "annex Canada".

My point is that even conceding for the sake of argument that the US did *not* wish to annex Canada, but only invaded to gain Canada as a "bargaining chip" for concessions elsewhere - that even putting the US case at its highest, it still failed to win. The invasions were overall unsuccessful, Canada was not seized as a "bargaining chip", and so the war was a failure in gaining its ostensible goals.

When one country wages a war of aggression and invades a neighboring territory to take it (no matter whether to hold it forever, or to gain points for later negotiations), and "fails to win", it has lost.

No doubt the war had all sorts of psychological impact on both the US or Canada, but that is essentially irrelevant to the question of who won or lost.

Now, the argument can be made that the War acted as a valuable deterrent, in deterring the Brits from helping the native Americans who were exposed to being despoiled by the Yanks. As with impressment, I rather suspect this is a moot point. The Americans were so much more powerful than the natives, this was a war the natives were bound to lose - unless the Brits supported them with military force: which would have led to a war, 1812-style. I see no evidence that the Brits were willing to risk that, and as the 19th century wore on, the Yanks only became more powerful, and the Brits consequently less likely to risk a major war for their native allies.
  #46  
Old 07-13-2016, 04:17 PM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malthus
My point is that even conceding for the sake of argument that the US did *not* wish to annex Canada, but only invaded to gain Canada as a "bargaining chip" for concessions elsewhere - that even putting the US case at its highest, it still failed to win. The invasions were overall unsuccessful, Canada was not seized as a "bargaining chip", and so the war was a failure in gaining its ostensible goals.

When one country wages a war of aggression and invades a neighboring territory to take it (no matter whether to hold it forever, or to gain points for later negotiations), and "fails to win", it has lost.
Except, again, that wasn't our goal. It wasn't even a primary goal. The main goal was to get the British to leave us the fuck alone, to stop impressing our citizens, to stop screwing with our trade and to stop supporting the native tribes and hindering our expansion south and westward. Taking Canada away from the Brits was one of the few things we could see in achieving those ACTUAL goals, since we couldn't exactly go head to head with the RN in a set piece battle...and we couldn't exactly invade the home islands. I'm not sure why this logic escapes you, or that you think that taking Canada was our primary goal...or why you think that the US was the aggressor here. We went to war because of the British actions...we sent a delegation to the UK to try and do this without a war, and basically they ignored us.

Even though we didn't take Canada, we achieved our actual war aims...the British left us alone from then on, they stopped screwing with our trade, and they stopped supporting native tribes and impeding our expansion. I'm sure that if we had taken Canada and somehow held it that would have been a bonus...but it was hardly our main aim.
  #47  
Old 07-13-2016, 04:35 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
Except, again, that wasn't our goal. It wasn't even a primary goal. The main goal was to get the British to leave us the fuck alone, to stop impressing our citizens, to stop screwing with our trade and to stop supporting the native tribes and hindering our expansion south and westward. Taking Canada away from the Brits was one of the few things we could see in achieving those ACTUAL goals, since we couldn't exactly go head to head with the RN in a set piece battle...and we couldn't exactly invade the home islands. I'm not sure why this logic escapes you, or that you think that taking Canada was our primary goal...or why you think that the US was the aggressor here. We went to war because of the British actions...we sent a delegation to the UK to try and do this without a war, and basically they ignored us.

Even though we didn't take Canada, we achieved our actual war aims...the British left us alone from then on, they stopped screwing with our trade, and they stopped supporting native tribes and impeding our expansion. I'm sure that if we had taken Canada and somehow held it that would have been a bonus...but it was hardly our main aim.
My point is pretty simple: none of those goals required, for its achievement, the war.

The war was supposed to achieve those goals by taking Canada. Canada was never taken. The goals were achieved, but what evidence exists demonstrates that they would have been achieved anyway, war or no. The war was lost by the US, but that loss had no impact on the ostensible "goals", because achieving those goals depended on factors completely outside the ambit of the war. There was never any possibility that the Brits would successfully take over the US, or that they would keep an enormous navy in existence, or that they would keep blockading Europe indefinitely, which is what would have been necessary to avoid those goals from being met.

This is like arguing that a particular war was necessary to keep the Earth in its orbit, and then proclaiming it must have been "won" no matter the outcome of its battles, because the Earth remains in its orbit, doesn't it?

Of course the US was the "aggressor". They were the ones who went to war. The British did not want a war, and they certainly did not want it *then*, when they were busy fighting Nappy. Every war in history, the "aggressor" has some sort of reasons for.
  #48  
Old 07-13-2016, 04:52 PM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malthus
My point is pretty simple: none of those goals required, for its achievement, the war.
Obviously Madison et al disagreed with your hindsight assessment. I disagree with them as well, even knowing how things played out.

Quote:
The war was supposed to achieve those goals by taking Canada.
No...Canada was simply one of the places we could get at the British. What we wanted to do was force the British to stop doing the things they were doing to us.

Quote:
Canada was never taken. The goals were achieved, but what evidence exists demonstrates that they would have been achieved anyway, war or no.
What evidence do you give that all of those goals would have been achieved without the war? It's not like the British had a good track record of conceding things like those that put the US at odds with them, especially with former colonies. Using your 20/20 hindsight, what evidence do you have that the British would have left our trade alone and allowed us our westward and southern expansion had there been no war? Perhaps it's the history of tolerance and generosity they displayed in India?

Quote:
The war was lost by the US, but that loss had no impact on the ostensible "goals", because achieving those goals depended on factors completely outside the ambit of the war.
The war was a 'loss' to you because you are fixated on the US having to take Canada to 'win'. You are obviously going to remain fixated on that regardless, so there doesn't seem much more point in this back and forth. I don't believe that taking Canada was a first tier goal of the US in the 1812 war...it was something that would have been nice, and it was one of the few ways we could actually get at the British to get them to pay attention to our list of issues. It had the desired effect...they paid attention. It had the desired effect...they stopped being ass hats (and allowed us to be the ass hats wrt the native peoples as the gods intended ).

Quote:
Of course the US was the "aggressor". They were the ones who went to war. The British did not want a war, and they certainly did not want it *then*, when they were busy fighting Nappy. Every war in history, the "aggressor" has some sort of reasons for.
This is like saying that if I bully you, take your lunch money, tell you what you can or can't do, that you'd be the aggressor if you punched me in the nose. Technically true, but kind of an un-nuanced view point of the situation. No, the British didn't want a war with the US...they wanted us to behave, to accept what they told us, trade with who they said we could and not with who they didn't want us to and do as they told us and just take it while they got on with the important work, to them, of fighting Bony. They refused to even listen to our complaints or to modify their behavior based on them. I don't want you to punch me in the nose simply because I want to take your lunch money or I tell you what to do, either...but you'd still be justified in doing so to get my attention and make me stop doing those things. YMMV, of course (obviously it does). *shrug*

Last edited by XT; 07-13-2016 at 04:54 PM.
  #49  
Old 07-13-2016, 06:08 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Well, under modern international law blockades are illegal. Britain was essentially conducting a blockade against the European continent and essentially blocking American trading ships from free use of the sees. When they would stop and impress American sailors, that would also be against international norms. While we didn't have formal international law in the early 19th century, I'd say under standards of the day America had casus belli, and in many respects Britain essentially was already waging war against the United States, albeit at a low level. The arming of native tribes being another matter.

My view of the War of 1812 is it was a bit of a boondoggle and unnecessary for a lot of reasons. But I can't really view it as Britain being the innocent aggrieved party and America being a reckless cow boy picking a fight.

I've always viewed it as a strategic draw, with many tactical losses (but some victories)--since conquest of Canada wasn't a war aim I only view the failure to occupy it as a failed objective, not as a "loss" in the war. That's like saying since Operation Market Garden was a failure we lost WW2. The stated U.S. war aim was to end harassment of its ships on the high seas--and Britain essentially did that unilaterally in 1814 before the war was over, which made the whole exercise pointless, which goes back to why I view it as a strategic draw. The only group I've ever seen seriously argue it was a victory for anyone was Americans who didn't know what it was about and think we "saved ourselves from British invasion" or Canadians who view it as akin to their Revolutionary War that guaranteed Canadian independence from America.

I think while it was a strategic draw for the United States it had some long term serious benefits. A big one was it instilled a deep appreciation in the importance of naval power, and the U.S. Navy has long since been a significant focus of the United States. It was instrumental in our ability to strangle the Confederacy, for example, in the ACW. While the U.S. Army was historically left very small and incapable by European standards, our Navy was sufficient to any task before it pretty much from the 19th century all the way up to the present, and I think the War of 1812 was at least part of why even when we weren't keen to invest in standing armies we usually kept our navy in pretty good shape. It also largely ended British engagement with natives fighting U.S. encroachment, largely leading to us being able to more easily settle the Louisiana Purchase territories--the rapidity with which we did so making it so we could also settle the far West/Pacific as well. It's not impossible this would've have happened without the War of 1812, but it may have happened later on, at which point situations could have played out differently (perhaps some other European power would have held a firmer grip on areas west of the Louisiana Purchase--possibly Britain.)

Some of the most devastating battles of 1812 were the clashes between the United States and Britain's Native Allies, many of them wiped out the fighting forces (fighting age young men) of native tribes for an entire generation, which had a major impact even if Britain had kept arming them afterward.

Last edited by Martin Hyde; 07-13-2016 at 06:11 PM.
  #50  
Old 07-13-2016, 08:42 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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The US still had phantasies about annexing Canada even in McKinley’s day. How could the Canadians possibly not want to be part of the obviously superior country? But by then it was simply a forlorn hope that the poor, oppressed colonials Up There would come to Washington, hats in hand, begging to be made the 40-somethingth state. See https://www.csub.edu/~gsantos/img0004.html
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