27 September 2012

The myth of the War of 1812

A posting by Greg Kennedy at activehistory.ca puts the case that the government's contention that “Canada would not exist had the American invasion of 1812-15 been successful” is a fabrication for political expediency.

"American war aims, the rhetoric of the war hawks notwithstanding, did not centre on annexing the colonies of British North America. Carl Benn explains that the Americans intended to occupy Upper Canada, and perhaps Montréal, in order to force the British to give in on other more important issues, namely, American territorial expansion to the south and west, as well as freedom for American transatlantic commerce (The War of 1812, 2003). It is also clear that President James Madison deliberately fanned the flames of nationalistic fervour in an effort to win re-election (which he won.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kenendy's position appears to ignore the rising tide of 'manifest destiny' that resulted only 30 years later in war with Mexico. There were several reasons for the United States' declaration of war. However, there were too many references at that time to the benefits of finally eliminating the Canadian border by American policy-makers to not include that as an objective. Jefferson was only one - Calhoun, Clay, and the inhabitants of the 'Hawk Mess'. The question perhaps is 'Once conquered, would Canada have been handed back after the war?' This was an agressive era in the US - it does not seem likley.