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"The Canadian Militia Myth of the War of 1812: Its..." Topic


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Tango0102 Jul 2016 12:15 p.m. PST

… Origin, Course and Dissolution.

"The article by Charles P. Stacey that follows is an important piece of writing in the Canadian historiography of the War of 1812. This is because Stacey, at the time the president of the Ontario Historical Society, was the first historian to directly challenge a long-cherished national belief that the Canadian militia largely won the war through their own efforts, although they did get some help from regular troops. In his article, Stacey traces the origins of this myth to a sermon preached at York, the capital of Upper Canada, in December 1812 and the author of the sermon was almost certain Dr. John Strachan, the Anglican primate of Upper Canada. Strachan was confident that…"
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rmaker02 Jul 2016 1:35 p.m. PST

Very much akin to, and probably inspired by the myth that American militia won the AWI.

Clays Russians02 Jul 2016 5:34 p.m. PST

Rmaker , bully for you, I always enjoyed two other myths-----
1. The rifle almost singlehandedly won our independence because there were sooooooo many in use.
2. Everybody supported the rebellion. (My fathers family split right down in half with 3 men going into the jersey royal regiment – the green faced whites- who were then disenfranchised and evicted out of Jersey and forced to march with their women to NY where the crown resettled them in New Brunswick.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jul 2016 7:04 a.m. PST

Donald Hickey also discusses the Canadian militia myth in his book Don't Give Up the Ship.

Like it or not, the overwhelming majority of the fighting on the British side was done one by the British Army.

And addressing the American militia myth from the War of the American Revolution, one of the more interesting comments is that the militia, when called out, were called 'longfaces' by the Continentals because of the militia's 'outstanding' attitude towards their service.

rmaker04 Jul 2016 10:01 a.m. PST

By the way, wile the Canadian military history establishment accepts the death of the Militia Myth, somebody needs to clue in the Ontario and Manitoba (at least) education establishments – they're still teaching it.

SmokieGunner Inactive Member12 Aug 2017 12:25 p.m. PST

The Militia Myth was a political construct begun by Strachan and his cronies who became the Family Compact and ruled Upper Canada with an arrogant mailed fist. They chose to write their own version of the battle of York in which the impotence of the militia and their officers Chewett and Allan, who failed to support the regulars, was overlooked. The casualty records bear this out. The officers of the Incorporated Militia present, Lieutenants Jarvie and Jarvis, were wounded because they joined in the fray but the sedentary militia choked except for a handful of volunteers who supported the Grenadiers of the 8th Foot.

The Militia Myth was not a part of the curriculum when I taught Gr7 & 8 History in Ontario. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of my family's Militia service – but they were also United Empire Loyalists and fought in both the AWI and 1812.

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