Author Topic: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?  (Read 2288 times)

Sorontar

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Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« on: June 17, 2021, 12:25:18 pm »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812

This is a question for those from the UK and the US. I imagine you are aware that there was a war of independence between what is now the United States of America and the British Empire in 1775–1783. However, were you taught about the other war between these countries in 1812-1815? If so, are you taught that anyone won it or was the "good guys"? What are you told about Canada's position in the conflict?

Because Australia (or rather the Australian colonies) had nothing to do with it and it wasn't globally important, I knew nothing of it. I am not asking you to take sides, just tell us if this is actually a war both the US and UK tend to forget.

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James Harrison

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2021, 12:51:50 pm »
Never taught about it at school, wasn't even aware of it until... my late teens I guess?
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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2021, 03:09:04 pm »
It's hardly mentioned in the U.K.
Never taught in my school.
Although we weren't taught about the War of Independence either. Nor the American Civil War.
It was mostly Henry the 8th and all that.

And I expect the Americans would rather forget that on August the 24th 1814 British troops entered Washington, D.C. and burned down the White House. It was later claimed it was in retaliation for the American attack on the city of York in Ontario, Canada a little over a year earlier but that is disputed.
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von Corax

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2021, 05:23:49 pm »
It ain't forgotten in Canada, b'y! It's remembered here as the USA's first military defeat.
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Sorontar

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2021, 09:52:20 pm »
It ain't forgotten in Canada, b'y! It's remembered here as the USA's first military defeat.

So Canada doesn't see it as key step towards Canada becoming a nation? But Canada does regard the UK as the winners? Or just the US as the losers?

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2021, 10:37:24 pm »
I was not raised in the US, and what I know comes from university. Nevertheless, yes, I believe it is taught at schools, exactly at what level of detail, I don't know, but I'm fairly certain most kids (depending on local educational authorities) know about it.

Discrepancies on what started the war vary or depend on which country tells the tale, of course, whether this was a purely aggressive American effort to wrestle the Canadian territories from the British, or whether the political conditions after the Napoleonic Wars set up the British in an adversarial position to block American economic interests, and what I usually hear, the detainment of American ships in the high seas and forceful pressing of a number of Americans into service, by the British officers, believing these were British citizens. The other excuse was the help that the British gave to Native Americans for defense against American expansion, which the Americans saw as British continuing aggression. Friction between the British and the Americans thus increased to that point and individual excuses for war presented themselves naturally.

Regardless, what is taught without admitting outright defeat, is that the British could not be stopped from invading US territory, including the whole city of Washington DC, with damage to the White House and Capitol at the time. A lot of noise is made about that, and there's an excellent tale about the First Lady, Dolley Madison (President Madison's wife), rescuing a number of artefacts and paintings from the White House before the British arrived. There's an excellent documentary on the invasion aired by Public Broadcasting Corporation. Madison's run is shown as a desperate retreat from the Capital, but the losses in the conflict are balanced, with much fanfare, against victories by military officers who'd become future presidents such as Andrew Jackson, who successfully stopped a British invasion and blockade in New Orleans which happened 18 days after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, because news traveled slowly  ::) (I guess that'd be the direct equivalent of the "5 de Mayo" celebrations in Mexico, beinga single successful encounter ;D). Other than that "victories" mainly constitute being able to stop invasions along the Easter coast at various points.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of_Washington

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_New_Orleans

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Jackson
« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 08:08:09 pm by J. Wilhelm »

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2021, 11:04:04 pm »
I don't remember exactly which documentary I saw, but here's a preview video from PBS.

https://www.pbs.org/video/war-1812-american-capital-burns/

von Corax

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2021, 04:40:28 am »
It ain't forgotten in Canada, b'y! It's remembered here as the USA's first military defeat.

So Canada doesn't see it as key step towards Canada becoming a nation? But Canada does regard the UK as the winners? Or just the US as the losers?
We do, in fact, see it as a step toward nationhood, and we consider Canada to be the winners in the conflict.

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2021, 08:22:04 pm »
It ain't forgotten in Canada, b'y! It's remembered here as the USA's first military defeat.

So Canada doesn't see it as key step towards Canada becoming a nation? But Canada does regard the UK as the winners? Or just the US as the losers?

I think this paragraph summarizes three distinct points of view on the outcome of the war:

From wiki

Quote
Given the widespread British invasions, burning of American cities, including the capitol building, the blockade, and the continued confiscation of American ships and cargo, Americans believe they had defeated a British attack on their sovereignty, Canadians that they repulsed 'the massed might of the United States', while the British consider the war as a minor theatre in the larger worldwide Napoleonic Wars.

That Canadians would see it as a Canadian victory is obvious. The American tactics called for invasion, and such attempts were quite effectively repulsed by the British, local and Native allies. A number of new forts were built after the war, so territory couldn't be taken for granted along the border. It has to reinforce a sense of nationhood.

To the British, this was a mere distraction. They were extraordinary in their encapsulation of the United States, blockading rather than diverting armed forces from Europe, and they used their powerful navy to basically sandbox the US.

In the US, every minor defeat of British troops marching on American cities was draped in Independence lore, with the event separated by a single generation from the American declaration of independence. The Treaty of Ghent was seen as a finalization of hostilities that officially recognized the American borders.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 08:37:17 pm by J. Wilhelm »

E.J.MonCrieff

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2021, 07:43:56 am »
I studied the period from 1760 (accession of George III) to 1914 (outbreak of World War I) for my O-levels (equivalent of OWLs for Muggles, back in the Dark Ages).  We covered the American War of Independence, but I cannot remember any reference to the 1812 conflict.  Perhaps it was subsumed by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

Mercury Wells

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2021, 11:36:02 pm »
Is the "Pig War (1859)" taught in both Canada & the US?
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J. Wilhelm

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2021, 04:50:11 pm »
Is the "Pig War (1859)" taught in both Canada & the US?

Anecdotal for anyone not studying American history in college courses where you could look for these kind of period details. This is the kind of thing kids might hear from a TV show like in the History Channel. Otherwise, it's completely overshadowed by the American Civil War, which was imminent at the time. American students generally don't study anything other than the US Civil War for the 1860s, most US kids don't even know that Mexico was invaded simultaneously by France and had an Austrian prince crowned as Mexican Emperor.

von Corax

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2021, 05:19:58 pm »
Is the "Pig War (1859)" taught in both Canada & the US?
I've heard of it (I think from an article in Canadian History magazine), but I never studied it in school. Then again, we never studied the Residential School system in school, either.

E.J.MonCrieff

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2021, 09:28:10 pm »
Is the "Pig War (1859)" taught in both Canada & the US?

I'd certainly never heard of this dispute.  The Wikipedia article is fascinating; it shows how easily sloppy drafting can lead to the breakdown of relations.

Sorontar

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2021, 09:17:51 am »
Australia has military issues with emus. US and Canada have it with pigs. One wonders that animals have challenged nations or caused combat.

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2021, 09:37:34 pm »
Australia has military issues with emus. US and Canada have it with pigs. One wonders that animals have challenged nations or caused combat.

Sorontar

Well, I guess cakes don't count as animals. Few people know which was the *First* French Intervention in Mexico: it was dubbed, "the Pastry War. " Basically, a blockade by France and an invasion of the City of Veracruz, demanding reparations for monetary losses due to looting of French businesses during the early Mexican Republic.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastry_War
« Last Edit: August 12, 2021, 02:50:52 am by J. Wilhelm »

von Corax

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2021, 11:46:05 pm »
Another often-forgotten battle is the Fenian Brotherhood's raids into Canada in 1866 and 1870-71.

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2021, 04:04:02 pm »
Oh yes. Our history teacher gave us a perfectly moderate, balanced assessment. I still remember it:

1812, height of the Napoleonic war, Britain fully occupied trying to push the French out of Spain and ship help to the Russians. While our back is turned, the devious, dastardly Americans attempt to invade Canada - and are defeated. Canada saved, White House burnt, God save the Queen, hoorah!

I think Bob Dylan wrote a song about it.
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Mercury Wells

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2021, 01:02:28 am »
Wondering wether to throw a "spanner in to the works". How about Jenkin's Ear?.

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2021, 01:21:56 am »
Wondering wether to throw a "spanner in to the works". How about Jenkin's Ear?.
I hear what you're saying, but I'm not sure it's a sound basis from which to echo the tocsins of conflict.

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2021, 01:08:52 pm »
I wonder who kept the ear. Maybe they passed it off as a saint's relic.  ;D

RJBowman

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2021, 09:05:15 pm »
The war is of local interest where I live because there is a historic battlefield here, but mostly the war is not considered very significant.


River Raisin Battlefield, Monroe, Michigan:
https://www.nps.gov/rira/index.htm

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2021, 08:03:59 am »
There "used to be" some interest amongst historic re-enactors and the Muzzleloading community.

But I know far more about The French Fur Trade and the Battle of Tippecanoe and Tecumseh in Lafeyette, Indiana
than the Battle of New Orleans, not due to much coverage in school
but because of the Battleground State Park and Fort Ouiatenon State park and several scholarly docents there.
Fort Ouiatenon (wee-ah-teh-non) was established by the French in 1717 as a fur trading post

re: "what was taught in US schools regarding the war of 1812"

without looking it up I dredged up what I could remember:

the "cause" was over illegal British Navy siezing US ships and impressment of US maritime (ie civilian) sailors.
(As always, there are deeper causes than the propoganda on the surface)

The major events that I can recall are

1) forces crossing the US/ Canadian border ( who went first is murky)
   very little more was discussed

2) British invasion of Washington DC, white house evacuated, and some structures burned

3) blockades of goods to US by Britain

4) (This one is famous) Attempted invasion of New Orleans by Britain .
aka "the Battle of New Orleans"

The attack was repelled succesfuly only because the infamous pirate and black marketeer Jean LaFeit provided arms, powder, and men
in defense of New Orleans. This turned the tide and held off British forces until General Andrew Jackson could arrive with US military forces.

according to what is taught in US schools, that battle in 1815 effectively ended the
"War of 1812" due to Britain being more importantly occupied with simultaneous
hostilities with the Frenchand others  in the European theater.

---
so now I have to look it up...

Real history differs!

first, the only mention of the french pirate is here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Lafitte

"Lafitte is believed to have been born either in Basque-France or the French colony of Saint-Domingue. By 1805, he was operating a warehouse in New Orleans to help distribute the goods smuggled by his brother Pierre Lafitte. The United States government passed the Embargo Act of 1807, so the Lafittes moved their operations to an island in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. By 1810, their new port had become very successful; the Lafittes had a profitable smuggling operation and also started to engage in piracy.

Despite Lafitte warning the other Baratarians of a possible military attack on their base of operations, a United States naval force successfully invaded in September 1814 and captured most of his fleet. Later, in return for a legal pardon, Lafitte and his fleet helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans during the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, as British forces sought access to the Mississippi River. After securing victory, Jackson paid tribute to the Lafitte brothers' efforts, as well as those of their fellow privateers, in despatches. "

Battle of New Orleans
Main article: Battle of New Orleans

When Andrew Jackson arrived in New Orleans on December 1, 1814, he discovered the city had not created any defenses.[56] It had approximately 1,000 unseasoned troops and two ships for its use. Although the city kept control of the eight ships taken from Lafitte, it did not have enough sailors to man them for defense. Resentful of the raid on Barataria, Lafitte's men refused to serve on their former ships.[57]

In mid-December, Jackson met with Lafitte, who offered to serve if the US would pardon those of his men who agreed to defend the city. Jackson agreed to do so.[58] On December 19, the state legislature passed a resolution recommending a full pardon for all of the former residents at Barataria.[59] With Lafitte's encouragement, many of his men joined the New Orleans militia or as sailors to man the ships. Others formed three artillery companies.[60]

On December 23, advance units of the British fleet reached the Mississippi River.[60] Lafitte realized that the American line of defense was so short as to potentially allow the British to encircle the American troops. He suggested that the line be extended to a nearby swamp, and Jackson ordered it done.[61] The British began advancing upon the American lines on December 28, but were repulsed by an artillery crew manned by two of Lafitte's former lieutenants, Renato Beluche and Dominique Youx.[62]

Patterson praised the Barataria men who served on one of the US Navy ships, and whose skill with artillery was greater than their British counterparts.[63] On land and sea, the former pirate gunners earned praise as the battle continued. On January 21, Jackson issued a statement praising his troops, especially the cannoneers and "Captains Dominique and Beluche, lately commanding privateers of Barataria, with part of their former crews and many brave citizens of New Orleans, were stationed at Nos. 3 and 4."[64] Jackson named Jean and Pierre Lafitte for having "exhibited the same courage and fidelity".[64] He formally requested clemency for the Lafittes and the men who had served under them. The government granted them all a full pardon on February 6.[65][66]
--------------------------

I highly recommend the wikipedia article, which goes into much greater detail
and clears up a plethora of Middle School propoganda:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812




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J. Wilhelm

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Re: Is the War of 1812 forgotten?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2021, 04:36:17 am »
This won the Internet tonight.

@DrMaryDraper on Twitter: "One of my advisees just gave me a War of 1812 scented candle, and it is *hilarious.* This is the end of semester pick-me-up that we all need."