The War of 1812: The War That Both Sides Won

The War of 1812: The War That Both Sides Won

The War of 1812: The War That Both Sides Won

The War of 1812: The War That Both Sides Won

Synopsis

Tragedy and farce, bravery and cowardice, intelligence and foolishness, sense and nonsense - all these contradictions and more have characterized the War of 1812. The real significance of the series of skirmishes that collectively made up the war between 1812 and 1814 is the enormous impact they have had on Canadian and American views of themselves and of each other.

The publication of The War of 1812: The War That Both Sides Wonin 1990 provided a contemporary look at the period, and included such developments as the 1975 discovery of the Hamilton and Scourge on the bottom of Lake Ontario, and the 1987 discovery of the skeletons of casualties at Snake Hill. Now, a decade later, Wesley B. Turner has updated The War of 1812to include the volumes of new research that have come to light in recent years. All this new material has been incorporated into this interesting and informative overview of a crucial period in Canada's history.

Excerpt

In June 1812 the contagion of war spread far beyond the European continent where it had raged for two decades from the early years of the French Revolution. In the United States, President James Madison delivered a war message to Congress on June 1 and, after approval by both Houses, signed a declaration of war against Great Britain on the 18th. A week later, thousands of kilometres to the east, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte led the most powerful army in Europe across the Niemen River into Russia. The obvious difference in scale of warfare and the great distance between these two theatres does not obscure the connection between these two events. The Napoleonic Wars in Europe did not only help cause the war in North America; they would directly affect its entire course. It may be said that the War of 1812 was the North American phase of the Napoleonic Wars.

In an effort to defeat Napoleon, Britain adopted measures that elicited protests from the Americans and contributed significantly to their declaration of war. At first, with its forces tied up fighting the French in the Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) Britain could send little help to its North American colonies. But Napoleon’s invasion of Russia turned into a stunning disaster that virtually destroyed his “Grand Army.” He raised more troops and fought on, but suffered an increasing number of defeats. The wearing down of the French armies enabled Britain to spare more attention, troops, and supplies . . .

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