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"The British View the War of 1812 Quite Differently...." Topic


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Napoleonic
19th Century

1,180 hits since 17 Jan 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0117 Jan 2018 9:55 p.m. PST

…. Than Americans Do

"As we look forward to celebrating the bicentennial of the "Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key, I have to admit, with deep shame and embarrassment, that until I left England and went to college in the U.S., I assumed the words referred to the War of Independence. In my defense, I suspect I'm not the only one to make this mistake.

For people like me, who have got their flags and wars mixed up, I think it should be pointed out that there may have been only one War of 1812, but there are four distinct versions of itóthe American, the British, the Canadian and the Native American. Moreover, among Americans, the chief actors in the drama, there are multiple variations of the versions, leading to widespread disagreement about the causes, the meaning and even the outcome of the war.

In the immediate aftermath of the war, American commentators painted the battles of 1812-15 as part of a glorious "second war for independence." As the 19th century progressed, this view changed into a more general story about the "birth of American freedom" and the founding of the Union. But even this note could not be sustained, and by the end of the century, the historian Henry Adams was depicting the war as an aimless exercise in blunder, arrogance and human folly. During the 20th century, historians recast the war in national terms: as a precondition for the entrenchment of Southern slavery, the jumping-off point for the goal of Manifest Destiny and the opening salvos in the race for industrial-capitalist supremacy. The tragic consequences of 1812 for the native nations also began to receive proper attention. Whatever triumphs could be parsed from the war, it was now accepted that none reached the Indian Confederation under Tecumseh. In this postmodern narrative about American selfhood, the "enemy" in the waróBritainóalmost disappeared entirely…."
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Amicalement
Armand

Prince Rupert of the Rhine18 Jan 2018 2:19 a.m. PST

I don't think it would be a big stretch to say your average Brit, in the street, will know very little to nothing about the war of 1812.

Vigilant18 Jan 2018 2:55 a.m. PST

Probably the same can be said of most US citizens too. From my own reading it means most to Canadians, and then mainly to those in the areas where it was fought.

Sobieski Inactive Member18 Jan 2018 3:43 a.m. PST

How about asking the Russians?

DrSkull18 Jan 2018 6:21 a.m. PST

Did he figure that out all by himself? Well done, Sherlock.

DrSkull18 Jan 2018 6:22 a.m. PST

Oh, and water is wet, fire is hot.

RudyNelson18 Jan 2018 7:35 a.m. PST

Sad to say that the average American does not care to know about history. If it does not affect their life's now then who cares.

It is so bad that one of my wife's co workers at here accounting department ask her who won the American Civil War. She had never heard of the war of 1812.

I run into the issue all the time with students working to get a GED.

Tango0118 Jan 2018 10:46 a.m. PST

"….It is so bad that one of my wife's co workers at here accounting department ask her who won the American Civil War…."

Glup!

Amicalement
Armand

rmaker18 Jan 2018 11:31 a.m. PST

IIRC, Rudy lives in Florida. 'Nuff said.

foxweasel18 Jan 2018 3:15 p.m. PST

I don't think the average Brit knows anything about pre WW1 history. No I'm being mean, they know Romans, Vikings and Normans were involved somewhere, there were also castles and stuff.

Major Bloodnok24 Jan 2018 4:03 a.m. PST

I can remember, back before the dinosaurs roamed the earth,
my first year going to school in the US. I was in the fourth grade and teacher was telling us about the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac (yeah, yeah, I know the CSS Virginia, occurred during the War of 1812… This would have been 1967. As an aside, as Foxweasel mentions, being taught about castles in Essex back in '66

RudyNelson25 Jan 2018 4:33 p.m. PST

Alabama

Major Bloodnok28 Jan 2018 4:01 a.m. PST

Alabama? I thought the Alabama was a noted commerce raider of song and story. Sorry about the above garbled post, writing at 5am doesn't awlays produce the most coherent syntax. Though I must admit I am most at ease when speaking or writing gibberish.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2018 1:01 p.m. PST

From my own reading it means most to Canadians, and then mainly to those in the areas where it was fought.

I'm a Canadian and live amongst many of the battles. Sad to say we Canadians are not immune to historical ignorance either. I was once driving through the small town of Chippewa. I thought I'd check out the battlefield, which I knew was largely om private property. I roll down the window to ask some locals the directions to the battlefield.

"What?"

"The battlefield…..where can I find it?"

"What battlefield?"

"The Battle of Chippewa!", I say getting frustrated.

"Never heard of it"

arthur181522 May 2018 2:31 p.m. PST

I had a more encouraging experience in summer 1995, when I stopped in Chippewa. A traffic warden approached and not only directed me to the battlefield, but slso told me where I could park for free.

On the other hand, a bellhop sweltering outside the Brock Hotel in Niagara, dressed in a red coat and bicorn, was delighted when I showed I knew who he was meant to be, saying I was the only person who had recognised General Isaac Brock that day.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2018 4:41 a.m. PST

Good story Arthur, thanks! That is nice to hear.

BattleSausage Inactive Member24 May 2018 10:58 a.m. PST

@Bowman make sure you go to the Lundy's Lane Starbucks. Get your coffee on the battlefield! lol.

I live in Upper Canada and very little is discussed about the war. Issac Brock, Laura Secord and Tecumesh not really discussed in schools.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 10:52 a.m. PST

…..make sure you go to the Lundy's Lane Starbucks

I hear you. But isn't the battlefield closer to the corner of Lundy's Lane and Drummond? Or was it at the very top of Clifton Hill?

I live in Upper Canada …….

Lol!, and I live in Ontario (must be the new part)

……and very little is discussed about the war.

Yep.

Issac Brock, Laura Secord and Tecumesh not really discussed in schools.

It was with me, but only sparingly.

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2018 10:20 a.m. PST

"@Bowman make sure you go to the Lundy's Lane Starbucks. Get your coffee on the battlefield! lol."

I took your advice! That is where we parked last weekend when we went to the battlefield! I had her off maps and book in hand while Janine parked and got us a ice coffee.

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