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I can't skip over this to get to Jacksonian America, because even though we might not be commemorating this war on the U.S side of the border in a major way (Baltimore and New Orleans are, as are the towns in Ohio near the naval battles on Lake Erie), Canada is celebrating it on its side. With good reason, because had Britain LOST the war, there would be no Canada.

The Bicentennial? From the Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2012

"The War of 1812 has no compelling narrative that appeals to the average American,'' said Jerald Podair, a history professor at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. "It's just a hodgepodge of buildings burning, bombs bursting in air and paintings being saved from the invaders, all for a vaguely defined purpose."
It's one of our most unpopular wars, but that has to do with the fact that its genesis is in party politics, and the parties at this point were regionally oriented.  You'll remember that the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by a Federalist administration to prepare for a war with France. This time, a Democratic-Republican administration was trying to stay out of another war with Britain, but that didn't happen either. Our protagonist?  The second Jeffersonian president, James Madison.

(Gilbert Stuart, 1821; National Gallery of Art)

The war, and something about the bicentennial celebration, below.

The problem? Madison had neither Jefferson’s prestige nor his skill as a politician. Beside, he was hampered by rivalries in his cabinet that forced him to direct foreign affairs by himself; accordingly, his first administration was dominated by a sense of national impotence and frustration.  Madison had two major challenges: keeping the United States out of war and guiding the country back to prosperity it had enjoyed a few years earlier, before Jefferson severely underestimated the importance of America's foreign trade by placing an embargo on commerce with both Britain and France.


In May 1810, Congress passed Macon’s Bill no. 2, which removed all restrictions on American trade, and promised that if either Britain or France lifted their restrictions against American commerce in the next year America would reimpose the non-intercourse act against the country which had not acted. This revived the British transatlantic trade, but the Federalists thought, since Britain was now the world’s leading naval power, that this made a war with Britain unavoidable as soon as American ships tried to reach France.  Napoleon, learning about the bill, withdrew the French decrees on condition that the American Congress pledged to punish any nation that kept its anti-American maritime edicts in force, which meant Britain became the target of American restrictions. John Quincy Adams, by now Minister to Russia, understood the French actions as a “trap to catch us into a war with England.”

At this point in the nineteenth century, there were two possible sources of war for the United States: Indians and foreign powers. The Shawnee chief Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee prophet, had begun to recruit tribes for another round of resistance to the United States as early as 1805.  
(Incidentally, EVERY representation I've seen of the brothers looks like this: Tecumseh as honorary white man, Tenskwatawa very "other)

Tenskwatawa preached both cultural renewal, as Neolin and Handsome Lake had, and pan-Indian confederation. This came to a head in 1811 both in Shawnee territory and in the South, and the action the government took against the Indians in the Indiana and Illinois territories and Florida were prompted by the demands of white frontiersmen and settlers, AND by a group of new Congressmen called “War Hawks” -- Republicans at this point, although the Federalists also admired them  -- elected in 1810, mostly from new states in the West (Henry Clay) or backcountry/frontier areas of existing states (John Calhoun).
The War Hawks felt that the United States should pursue a more aggressive policy in defense of its interests.

As for the British, they continued their policy of recruiting men for the British Navy by means of impressment, the act or policy of seizing people or property for public service or use. In 1811, Madison ordered the heavy frigate U.S.S. President to patrol the Atlantic coast, and, in an encounter with the H.M.S. Little Belt, the President killed nine of the Little Belt’s crew and wounded 23 others.  Since in 1807 the H.M.S. Leopold had done the same to the U.S.S. Chesapeake while attempting to kidnap some of the Chesapeake crew, the United States saw this as revenge. Britain, however, saw it as a reason to clamor for war.

Americans had assumed that, if there were to be another war with Britain, the main way it would be fought would be by the invasion of Canada, because this was the only area in which the British appeared vulnerable. More than anyone else, Henry Clay of Kentucky led the nation to war from his position as Speaker of the House, a post to which he was elected on his first day as a member.  Clay recommended to Secretary of State James Monroe that Madison should send a confidential message to Congress recommending a 30-day embargo to make sure as many American ships were in port and out of reach of the British navy as possible, and then to declare war.

Declaring War

In the latter part of May, 1812, Madison prepared a war message which he sent to Congress June 1.  This arraigned the British for exercising “municipal prerogative” over American ships which MIGHT be harboring British subjects, and claimed that American commerce interfered with a monopoly over the Atlantic trade Britain wanted for itself. Specifically Britain had impressed American seamen, maintained illegal blockades under the name of Orders in Council, and exerted a malicious influence over the Indians in the Northwest Territory (land that is now Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin).

John Calhoun introduced a war bill that made it through the House in two days, passing 79-49). The bill ran into trouble in the Senate because the Federalists  (and some Republicans) supported limiting war to the high seas – partially as lesser of two evils, but also as the best method of upholding the nation’s rights. After nine days of negotiation, the Senate passed the original bill 19-13 in the closest vote on any declaration of war in American history. 81% of Republicans voted for it, all the Federalists (39) voted against it.

The War of 1812 echoed the ideology, the issues and, by now, the Anglophobia of the American Revolution. The Republicans saw British encroachment in the Old Northwest as a means of keeping the United States in a sort of quasi-colonial subjugation.  Madison was hampered by a lack of financial support, by problems in mobilizing and organizing the military effort, and by political dissent from the Federalists. Like the Revolution, the U.S. should have been crushed in a military contest with a major European power but it wasn’t, and bungled military campaigns in 1812 and1813 caused no immediate military threat.

Timeline (with commentary)

There's an Official War of 1812 Bicentennial site, operated by the bi-national Niagara Legacy Council. Good on 2012 events, but past then, sketchy. Most of the links below are to bicentennial commemoration sites.

October 13, 1812: British forces won the Battle of Queenston Heights in Canada. Reenactment in Queenston & Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON & Lewiston, NY
Incidentally, we had an election in 1812, which Madison won handily.
January 22, 1813: An American army advancing toward Detroit was defeated and captured at Frenchtown on the Raisin River. Celebration in Monroe, Michigan.
April 27, 1813: American forces captured York (now Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada. They later burned some public buildings. Toronto has already begin to celebrate the Bicentennial, and, as the Times says,

Canadians, who consider the war a pivotal conflict in their nation's history, have made 200th anniversary celebrations a national priority and are opening government coffers to stage a splashy show.
September 10, 1813: American naval forces under Master-Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry won the Battle of Lake Erie. The commemoration will be headquartered in Cleveland.
October 5, 1813: American forces under General William Henry Harrison won the Battle of the Thames River in Moraviantown, an Indian village in Canada. Tecumseh is killed in the battle. This is one of the major events of the Canadian commemoration.
December 1813: British forces crossed the Niagara River, captured Fort Niagara, and burned Buffalo and neighboring villages.
July 25, 1814: American forces under Major General Jacob Brown and Brigadier General Winfield Scott crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo and defeated the British at the Battle of Chippewa.
August 24, 1814: British troops invaded Washington, D.C., and burned the Capitol and the White House.
September 11, 1814: American naval forces defeated a British fleet in the Battle of Lake Champlain.
September 13, 1814: Siege of Baltimore fails. The Smithsonian has the star-spangled banner Francis Scott Key wrote about, and here's the image:

The War of 1812 Concludes

Dec 15, 1814: Hartford Convention begins.  Yes, New England was considering secession. Caleb Strong, the governor of Massachusetts, sent a secret emissary to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in September 1814 to learn if a separate peace might be negotiated (in violation of the Constitution) In December, 26 delegates from New England met at Hartford with a shared conviction that the peace negotiations were going nowhere to consider secession, but a minority of extremists lost out to those who wished to stay in the Union. James Monroe, by then secretary of war, considered sending an army detachment to Connecticut but decided it wasn't necessary. The convention recommended a few Constitutional amendments: these included requiring 2/3 vote in congress to admit states, to impose commercial restrictions, and to declare war; abolishing the 3/5 rule, confining federal office holding to native born, limiting president to one term, and prohibiting any state (like, say, Virginia) from furnishing two consecutive presidents.

December 24, 1814: The Americans and the British signed a peace treaty in Ghent, Belgium. Negotiations had begun in August 1814, and the treaty, which didn’t do much but end the fighting, was signed the day before Christmas. It restored the state that existed before the war. Each side agreed to evacuate all enemy territory, not to carry off any enemy property and to return all prisoners of war; promised to make peace with the Indians and to “restore to such tribes . . . all the possessions, rights and privileges which they may have enjoyed or been entitled to” in 1811, and both promised to “use their best endeavors” to stamp out the slave trade.

January 5, 1815: Hartford Convention ends. Two delegates were appointed to go to Washington with the resolutions, but they arrived after the peace treaty had been signed.

January 8, 1815 American forces under General Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans. The bicentennial celebration has begun already in New Orleans, and you can be sure it will continue through 2015, possibly to avoid the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the capture of New Orleans during the Civil War. And if you were listening to the radio during the summer of 1959 . . .

News of the treaty and of Andrew Jackson’s victory at New Orleans arrived on the east coast almost simultaneously. An opponent of the war in Congress had read the preliminary dispatches from New Orleans and, from them, decided Jackson had already surrendered, so on the eve of February 4, the Federalists were convinced Madison was finished.  24 hours later, news of Jackson’s victory reached Washington, and news of the treaty reached Madison February 13. Madison submitted the treat to the Senate on February 15th, which ratified it without opposition. As the British had already ratified it, this marked the end of hostilities

After the War of 1812, Americans could agree on national greatness.  Fourth of July orators insisted that the United States was the “only republic on earth” and suggested that the Old World, like Asia and Africa, was perhaps not yet ripe for the establishment of a free government There were even bipartisan celebrations between 1814-1820 (hence the term "The Era of Good Feelings"), although conservatives, especially in New England, insisted that the war had merely preserved existing British liberties which had been earned in the Revolution.

As usual, if you had ancestors who were involved in the war, your stories will be especially welcome in the comments. Next week, Indian removal under (Bloody bloody) Andrew Jackson!

Recommended Reading

Joyce Appleby, Inheriting the Revolution (2000)  - actually, about 1800-1840, based on the memoirs of Americans born between 1776 and 1800
David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 (1997) -- about the importance of political festivals in the early American republic.
Steven Watts, The Republic Reborn: war and the making of liberal America, 1790-1820 (1987)

10:26 PM PT: and thank you, Community Spotlight.

Wed May 23, 2012 at 8:12 AM PT: I'll be away from my keyboard for the next 4-4.5 hours doing some morning errands.  Don't think I'm neglecting you!

Originally posted to Dave in Northridge on Tue May 22, 2012 at 01:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Yeah, right (0+ / 0-)

      Come back proud Canadians,
      To before you had TV.
      No hockey night in Canada,
      there was no CBC.

      In 1812 Madison was mad,
      He was the president you know.
      Well he thought he'd tell the British where they ought to go.
      He thought he'd invade Canada,
      He thought that he was tough.
      Instead we went to Washington,
      And burned down all his stuff.

      And the White House burned, burned, burned.
      And we're the ones that did it,
      It burned, burned, burned.
      While the president ran and cried,
      It burned, burned, burned.
      And things were very historical,
      And the Americans ran and cried like a bunch of little babies WaWaWa
      In the war of 1812.

      Those hillbillies from Kentucky,
      Dressed in green and red.
      Left home to fight in Canada,
      But they returned home dead.
      It's the only war the Yankees lost except for Vietnam.
      And also the Alamo and the Bay of...Ham.
      The loser was America,
      The winner was ourselves.
      So join right in and gloat about the war of 1812.

      And the White House burned, burned, burned.
      And we're the ones that did it,
      It burned, burned, burned.
      While the president ran and cried,
      It burned, burned, burned.
      And things were very historical,
      And the Americans ran and cried like a bunch of little babies WaWaWa
      In the war of 1812.

      In 1812 we were just sitting around,
      Minding our own business,
      Putting crops into the ground.
      We heard the soldiers coming,
      And we didn't like that sound.
      So we took a boat to Washington and burned it to the ground.

      Oh we fired our guns but the Yankees kept a coming,
      There wasn't quite as many as there was a while ago.
      We fired once more and the Yankees started running,
      Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
      They ran through the snow,
      And they ran through the forest,
      They ran through the bushes where the beavers wouldn't go,
      They ran so fast they forgot to take their culture,
      Back to America and the Gulf of Mexico.

      So if you go to Washington,
      Its building clean and nice,
      Bring a pack of matches,
      And we'll burn the White House twice.

      And the White House burned, burned, burned,
      But the Americans won't admit it.
      It burned, burned, burned...
      It burned and burned and burned
      It burned, burned, burned
      I bet that made them mad.
      And the Americans ran and cried like a bunch of little babies WaWaWa
      In the war of 1812.

      - The Arrogant Worms

  •  We have several letters my Great-great-great- (15+ / 0-)

    grandfather wrote to his wife from the Niagara front lines during the war. He was surgeon to Gen. John Swift. All of his brothers served as well. Makes for some fascinating reading. One of speaks with horror at the treacherous death of Gen. Swift at the hands of captured British soldiers.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue May 22, 2012 at 02:03:51 PM PDT

  •  I was at a company conference (13+ / 0-)

    in Australia when we had one of those "optional" socializing events complete with karaoke.

    I was being goaded into participation by some very attractive members of our Korean operation and I reluctantly agreed to one song IF the karaoke machine had it. For some reason, I thought of the "Battle of New Orleans" as the least likely song for them to have. Of course they had it.

    I am an unimaginably bad singer but I was slogging through the song well enough when right about the time the chorus came up "they ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em" it occurred to me that the gentleman seated directly in front of me as I stood on the little stage was the CEO and Chairman of my company's parent company's ENGLISH parent company.

    Talk about a career limiting move.

    "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel.

    by Inventor on Tue May 22, 2012 at 02:30:10 PM PDT

  •  did we lose the War of 1812? I did not know that (9+ / 0-)

    I just thought that we beat the Canadians or British, or whomever we were fighting.

    80 % of success is showing up

    Corporate is not the solution to our problem

    Corporate is the problem

    by Churchill on Tue May 22, 2012 at 02:30:29 PM PDT

    •  It was a stalemate, in essence (14+ / 0-)

      The Treaty of Ghent tells both sides to confirm the borders and try to get along better.  We didn't actually lose this war, but an exceptionalist/triumphalist reading of it would just focus on the battle of New Orleans and go on.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Tue May 22, 2012 at 02:33:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, in terms of what was lost; Yes, (8+ / 0-)

      in terms of what was intended - the annexation of Canada.

      Odd that the motivating idea of Manifest Destiny (the American Exceptionalism of its day) is absent from this analysis.

      The only clear losers? The First Nations, Shawnee and others.

      The only clear winner? Canada, eventually.

      •  Manifest Destiny wasn't formulated until the 1840s (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, Churchill

        By John O'Sullivan, in the Democratic Review, to explain why we deserved the Oregon Territory.  The explanation of the war wasn't really providential either.

        -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

        by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:41:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I would really like to suggest... (5+ / 0-)

        ...that anyone who is really interested in this war, read about it from a British source.

        This is all just the standard apologetics that one finds in most junior high/high school classes, with the emphasis on impressment, which was never anything other than an excuse to launch a war to seize Canada from the British.

        The author suggests that Manifest Destiny wasn't a motivating idea because John O'Sullivan articulated the 'doctrine' some years later, which is a really aggravating deflection from the truth.

        The truth was that the feelings that were later enshrined in the words 'Manifest Destiny' were felt and talked about in America's leadership class almost since the inception of the nation.  There is no doubt whatsoever that those in Congress who were calling for war wanted to seize Canada and make it a part of the USA.

        We started the war to seize territory, misjudging that we were catching the British at a time when they wouldn't really want to stop us, but we guessed wrong and they kicked our asses.  We never did win any kind of convincing battle until after the war was over in New Orleans.

        We sued for peace, the British were content that we had learned our lesson, and agreed essentially to status quo ante bellum.  It was America's first war of aggression and it was a failure.

        We got better at it later...

        (I don't want to sound too critical, but this one is a real sore spot with me, because it has been so horribly misrepresented in this country for two hundred years.)

        •  Clarification... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund, mkor7, seaprog
          We started the war to seize territory, misjudging that we were catching the British at a time when they wouldn't really want to stop us, but we guessed wrong and they kicked our asses.
          "...when they wouldn't really want to stop us..."

          This, because they felt that Britain what fully obsessed with Napoleon, who was near the apex of his power.

          I.e., the old 'two-front war' idea...

        •  Hm. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          this one is a real sore spot with me, because it has been so horribly misrepresented in this country for two hundred years.
          How come?  I'm as anti-imperialist as anyone and this was a war of American aggression to get Britain to stop exercising what seemed like an imperial prerogative over its former colony, to say nothing about the forts in the Old Northwest.  It seems to me the war is represented that way.

          -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

          by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 06:55:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The provocations of the UK were real. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dave in Northridge

            My people were in Ohio at the time, so my reading of the history raised my awareness of the real tensions out there, and the incitement of the Native Americans against white American settlers.  There seemed to be about as much regard for the territory of the U.S. in the northwest as for the rights of American sailors on the high seas, which is to say very little.

            The diarist's account is perhaps a bit shaded on this war because my memory of the literature is that Madison & company were not "trying to stay out of another war with Britain" but were, rather, making whatever political maneuvers they could to bring war on, in order to kick Britain out of Canada and annex it to the United States.  They vastly overestimated their nation's ability to stage a military adventure and the average Canadian's desire to be independent, and tragically underestimated British resolve to maintain their foothold in North America.

        •  IIRC we subverted Florida from Spain in 1812 too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          We encouraged Americans to cross the border and settle Florida, essentially pushing the Spaniards out by force of demographics. So to my understanding, there was quite the mood for expansion. Especially in the frontier areas personified in Clay's and Calhoun's advocacy.

          •  YES, indeed! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund, TofG

            I left that out for brevity, but it's the pattern that was used in Texas.  Send in settlers, let them complain that Spain isn't protecting them from the Indians and appeal for American troops to support them.  Florida was a money-losing proposition for Spain anyway, and the Adams-Onis treaty in 1819 sealed it.

            Expansion, yes, but I'm not sure it's what O'Sullivan meant when he coined the phrase "manifest destiny." That was about continental ambition.

            -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

            by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:30:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Glad the memory still works (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dave in Northridge

              My knowledge of this era is pretty sketchy. But I'd bet donuts to dollars that most Americans do not know Florida was owned by Spain as recently as 200 years ago.

              Another thing I remember is when the phrase was, "dollars to donuts".

        •  Allow the Canadian perspective, please (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          First, the war hawks in the US were looking for an excuse to grab territory, and impressment was the sexy-sounding rationale Americans have jumped on. two things about that: first, the Royal Navy stopped doing it to American ships well before the American invasion. Second, it was the states in New England, who had by far the largest population of sailors per capita, the ones affected the most by impressment, who were the ones most opposed to the war.

          (Love the way that the people who wanted the fighting to end are described as "extremists", by the by.)

          The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent. - Thomas Jefferson
          The reason that Canadians consider the war a big deal is because it was: on our side we had the original Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:

          1. an outnumbered group of British Regulars and local militia, who could expect no real hope from Britain given the war against Napoleon;

          2. First Nations being driven from their territories by American expansion;

          3. Québecois whose rights were considered intolerable to American politicians (look it up: the fact that Britain had allowed them to retain institutions, religion, language, and other traditions was listed as one of the outrages in the Declaration of Independence);

          4. Colonists who'd already been driven from their homes during the Revolution for remaining loyal to the Crown; and

          5. Colonists who had no desire to join the United States.

          Outnumbered, faced by an arrogant crowd of asshats who thought conquest would be a walk in the park, they basically fought the invading Americans to a standstill and guaranteed that whatever Canada would become, it would not be a conquered part of the United States, and in doing so allied, at least for a time, a number of groups that had been at each others' throats, and in the case of the English and the French, in a life or death struggle with each other that han ended only two generations before.

      •  It's more nuanced. Biggest American gain was the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge, ozsea1, eztempo

        destruction of organized native American resistance, definitively opening up the old Northwest (which was the British chief aim- to interpose an Indian blocking state). The other big winner was the future Canada.
        As far as the British and American maximalist aims, neither was realized, both had victories and defeats, and as to the possibility of a decisive British win, consider 1) war weariness after the napoleonic wars, 2) the refusal of the Duke of Wellington to direct the British efforts, reasoning a definitive victory was improbable.

    •  Well, Parliament was never on fire (4+ / 0-)

      One thing Canadians are celebrating is the fact a relative handful of Canadian militia backed by very few Royal troops whupped far larger American invasion forces and whupped them good. Americans got whupped in land battles almost the entire war. And this was in a war Britain fought with both hands and a leg tied behind her back.

      On the American side of the ledger, the US Navy emerged with an improved reputation. The Royal Navy was used to winning ship vs ship battles. They did not build particularly good ships, but the RN were the world's best sailors. In the small USN, the RN met their match. The US built much better ships and American seamen were every inch the mariners as the British.

      So Britain won because they met their war aims and the USA did not. But the war probably did contribute an essential sense of national identity and raised the opinion of American arms in European eyes.

      It is interesting to speculate what would have happened 50 years later had the War of 1812 not been fought. Would the USA have the strong enough sense of national identity to fight the Civil War? Or would regionalism have dominated, and the CSA been allowed to split away?

      •  Parliament on fire? not until 1834 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, ozsea1


        Joseph Mallord William Turner,  The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834; Cleveland Museum of Art

        -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

        by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:52:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another lesson learned (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TayTay, Dave in Northridge

          I did not know of this event. However I m glad I did not go with my original title, Well, America did not burn down Big Ben. It occurred to me I did not know when Big Ben was built. Turns out, it was built during the project to replace the Parliament building after this fire here in 1834.

          So either way I was going to get a follow-up lesson on this fire. I'm glad I chose the soft landing option.

          •  Revenge for burning of York (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund, Dave in Northridge, ozsea1

            An extract from the Wikipedia article on the 'Burning of Washington' explains the justification for the burning.

            The majority of British opinion believed that the burnings were justified following the damage that United States forces had done with its incursions into Canada. In addition, they noted that the United States had been the aggressor, declaring war and initiating it.[26] Several commentators regarded the damages as just revenge for the American destruction of the Parliament buildings and other public buildings in York, the provincial capital of Upper Canada, early in 1813. Sir George Prevost wrote that "as a just retribution, the proud capital at Washington has experienced a similar fate".[27] The Reverend John Strachan, who as Rector of York had witnessed the American acts there, wrote to Thomas Jefferson that the damage to Washington "was a small retaliation after redress had been refused for burnings and depredations, not only of public but private property, committed by them in Canada".

            There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

            by Gary J on Wed May 23, 2012 at 08:52:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, Upper Canada's was. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge, Quicklund, ozsea1

        From the Ontario Heritage Foundation's placard:

        On the morning of July 31, 1813, a U.S. invasion fleet appeared off York (Toronto) after having withdrawn from a planned attack on British positions at Burlington Heights. That afternoon 300 American soldiers came ashore near here. Their landing was unopposed: there were no British regulars in town, and York's militia had withdrawn from further combat in return for its freedom during the American invasion three months earlier. The invaders seized food and military supplies, then re-embarked. The next day they returned to investigate collaborators' reports that valuable stores were concealed up the Don River. Unsuccessful in their search, the Americans contented themselves with burning military installations on nearby Gibraltar Point before they departed.[26]
        We also burned the Legislative Assembly for Upper Canada, which was in York.  

        The raid on Washington DC was largely Canadian retaliation.  Canadians claim the glory of that battle to themselves, the Brits aren't quite so sure, and how were Americans to tell the difference since the Canadians called themselves Brits anyway?

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 01:36:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Go to Canada (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, ozsea1

      When I was in Canada on holiday, I was surprised to find out that the US lost that one.  After all, I'd been taught in jr high, whatever, blah, blah blah.

      BUT, the capital, Ottawa, was chosen because of it's greater distance from the US than Montreal or Quebec.  Canada was afraid we would invade again.

      Another one of those things we know for sure that turn out to be wrong.....

  •  Nicely done. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Tue May 22, 2012 at 03:22:32 PM PDT

  •  Great history info as always. (9+ / 0-)

    i loved history in school but never followed that love up. One teacher thought I was cheating when I made a hundred on several tests and gave me another test all by myself with him staring at me. I made a hundred then to so he agreed I was not cheating.

    I enjoy your making history so much richer than just "we won this battle on" and "they that battle on".

    I am just now thanks to you finding out what many of the great leaders of our early days did besides sign important papers and become presidents.

    For example I did not know that John Quincy Adams was ever a "Minister to Russia".

    I know my education might not be as complete as I would have liked but the young TEXAS kids I talk to now don't seem to know a tenth of what I learned it Arizona schools in the late fiftys and early sixtys. Am I missing something, is it Texas de-education or is it the same in every state and modern education is lacking?

    PS I am not claiming to be smarter then them or any one because they text circles around me and multi-task (Like texting, talking, driving, eating a fast food burger and honking their horn all at the same time.

    I did have one really hard time with grammer but that is a whole 'nother' issue.

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Tue May 22, 2012 at 03:56:44 PM PDT

    •  I'm glad this helps (10+ / 0-)

      This is really how I teach it.  High politics without context doesn't work for me any more.  As for Texas, given what they did to the history standards a few years back leads me to believe it may very well be Texas de-education.

      Thank you.  I'll keep writing these.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Tue May 22, 2012 at 04:02:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe teaching history with the context (6+ / 0-)

        is what led Texas (and other conservatives) to freak out about history... instead of putting the founding fathers on a pedestal, we can finally appreciate them for the people they actually were.

        The history is a lot more fun, and it makes a lot more sense.

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Wed May 23, 2012 at 01:31:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  this so true (4+ / 0-)

          I just gave a tour at Concord bridge on the Rev. War battle there and there is little acknowledgement of the atrocity committed there by an American.  Knowing about the near scalping of a British soldier by an American farmboy had deadly consequences later for the Patriot fighters.

          It happened.  The tour I gave included a current veteran in the group.  He brought up the parallel to Iraq and insurgencies and the problems therein.  We forget our history at our peril.

      •  A more generous interpretation... (0+ / 0-)

        While the US was fighting the war of 1812, Texas was part of Mexico.  Texas, as part of Mexico, was embroiled in the Mexican War of Independence.  Its northeast had been claimed by France, then the United States until the Otis treaty declared that Texas was part of Spain and ceded West Florida to the US.  

        The rest of the generous interpretation is that an awful lot of American history took place after 1960.  

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 03:12:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do Oregon textbooks celebrate the sack of D.C.? (0+ / 0-)

          I honestly do not see why Texas textbooks cover the War of 1912 differently today just because Texas was part of Spain in 1812-1814.  By this generous interpretation, Washington state and Oregon textbooks should celebrate the War of 1812 as a great British victory. After all, that region was under at least partial British administration until 1848.  

          I also don't see what the arbitrary year 1960 has to do with the relative quality of education in Texas or anywhere for that matter.

          •  It's not quality of education, exactly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund, US Blues

            Texas revised its history standards in a VERY public manner in the spring of 2010.  Stuff like this:

            The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

            “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

            They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

            -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

            by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 08:05:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (6+ / 0-)

    one of our lesser-known episodes, but very important. And an area of particular interest to me.

    We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time. --T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets / Little Gidding

    by Mnemosyne on Tue May 22, 2012 at 04:36:10 PM PDT

  •  War of 1812 (10+ / 0-)

    anecdote: Several years ago, I went to the Tidewater Maryland town where some of my maternal grandmother's forebears had originated, to do a bit of archeology among the stacks in the local historical society.

    On the road in, I crossed a large river, the Potamac maybe, and saw a beautiful white manor house high on a bluff overlooking.

    Later, mentioned it to the sweet little grey-haired lady who knew all about genealogy in that part of the world.

    "Oh, yes," she said, "that is such a lovely house. And we're so fortunate it's still standing. The British burned so many of them, you know."

    It took me a minute to realize she was talking about the War of 1812, which to her was as real and immediate as the Revolution is to some in New England.

    We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time. --T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets / Little Gidding

    by Mnemosyne on Tue May 22, 2012 at 06:21:02 PM PDT

  •  I couldn't help noticing (5+ / 0-)

    the picture of the Star Spangled Banner.

    I wrote a Diary about it recently:

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue May 22, 2012 at 09:25:19 PM PDT

  •  1812 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    I just started reading 1812 by George C. Daughan. I was wondering if you have heard of it and if it's any good?

    “The past is not dead. It isn’t even past.”–William Faulkner

    •  No, but let me know what you think of it! (0+ / 0-)

      I approached the war via these:
      Appleby, Inheriting the Revolution (2000)
      Hickey, The War of 1812 (1989) (I honestly don't remember much about this book either)
      Rutland, The Presidency of James Madison (1990)
      Skeen, 1816: America Rising (2003)
      Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 (1997)
      Watts, The Republic Reborn: war and the making of liberal America, 1790-1820 (1987)

      and thanks for reminding me, I should update this with a reading list.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Tue May 22, 2012 at 10:19:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Teddy Roosevelt's The Naval War of 1812 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge, Quicklund

        As a student at Harvard, Roosevelt began writing the definitive history of the War of 1812 at sea.  Despite its title, The Naval War of 1812 presents a nice overview of the land campaigns, and overall it's a very enjoyable read.

        On a related note, Roosevelt was a proponent of Alfred Thayer Mahan's theories of naval combat, best explored in The Influence of Sea Power Upon History.  In the US Naval Academy's Mahan Hall (named after Mahan, obviously), the struck flags of the British ships from the War of 1812 hang.  Also in the Hall is the flag that flew over the governor's mansion in York.  They're impressive to look at.

        In a lot of ways, the United States is lucky that the War of 1812 didn't go into 1815.  Britain had manpower it could redeploy from Europe after Napoleon's fall (imagine Wellington accepting command in North America), and on the Great Lakes the British were building a triple decker on par with the HMS Victory.  The war ended at the point where it could have gotten very bad for the United States.

      •  Neocon America 1812? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge

        A different viewpoint is in Robert Kagan's book 'Dangerous Nation: Americas foreign policy from its earliest days to the dawn of the 20th century'.

        How do you rate this book Dave?

        Kagan is a Neocon - a Reagan speechwriter for example.  He asserts in effect that Neocon motives have been present in US policies right from the start of the nation.

        What he describes is not always flattering to The USA and he does not pretend that it is.

        Basically he says that the USA was rarely consistently isolationist in the manner recommended by Washington. From  earliest times it was seen by other countries as an interventionist and expansionist power and no power with territories in reach of the USA was safe.

        Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

        by saugatojas on Thu May 24, 2012 at 03:39:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would be the Canadian take on 1812 (0+ / 0-)

          I should mention that what I learned about diplomatic history I learned from Walter La Feber at Cornell, one of William Appleman Williams's students, and that school of historical thought believes that until the United States had the economic power to assume a significant role in world trade the country was, if not isolationist, at least protectionist. People can cherry-pick historical facts to prove almost anything, but the interpretations aren't always correct.

          You might want to read the Monroe Doctrine with an eye to evaluating Kagan's thesis.

          -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

          by Dave in Northridge on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:54:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately, US designs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, gizmo59, sawgrass727

    on British North America did not stop with the treaty of Ghent. I'm confident that most, here, will remember the slogan, "54-40 or Fight." Appealingly alliterate, it called on American ambitions to expand into the Columbia territory in the 1840's, and, had it been acted upon, would have annexed what is now the province of British Columbia.

    Then, following the Civil War, President Johnson organized armed groups of Irish Americans, sending them into southern Ontario to foment a revolt against Britain by the then numerous Irish immigrants into Upper Canada. The uprising, known as the Finnian revolt, failed.

    In the period following the BNA act which brought Canada into being in 1867, the prairie territories were patrolled only by the Northwest Mounted Police (eventually) and many American 'pioneers' migrated into that area with an eye to a Texas-style solution; move in, settle, and declare oneself a part of the United States.

    The biggest recipient of these expansionists was what is now Alberta, the most conservative, Fox-News-happy, part of Canada.

    •  "54-40 or Fight" was a bluff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The point of the Oregon negotiations was to secure Puget Sound.  Britain wanted the border to be the Columbia River because 90% of the American settlers before 1840 were stopping south of it to establish their farms and homesteads.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:45:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Could you go on a little with the consequences? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, gizmo59

    What happened to the people at the Hartford Convention?  How did the war affect the 1816 election? (the word "bipartisan" is a testy one these days :D) Did impressment actually stop?  Was the end of Napoleon a determining factor in any of this?

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Wed May 23, 2012 at 01:36:03 AM PDT

    •  Editorial privilege here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Federalism started to wither away. James Monroe won the 1816 election easily, and the 1820 election even more easily.  Britain turned its attention to the defeat of Napoleon, which, as you know, happened. I don't know about impressment, but this was also about the time when the whaling business moved from Nantucket to New Bedford and really took off.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:51:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The British crisis of 1812 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gizmo59, US Blues

    One factor I think most people in the US are unaware of is that in May 1812 Britain was hit by a massive political crisis.

    Only one British Prime Minster has ever been assassinated. That was Spencer Perceval.

    On the 11th May 1812

    A key part of Perceval's war policy against France was the maintenace of the 'Orders In Council' upholding trade restrictions with countries that might trade with France. When shot he was on his way to a Parliamentary hearing on whether the orders should continue.

    The government under Lord Liverpool that succeeded the Perceval government rescinded the three Orders In Council most obnoxious to the USA in a further Order In Council dated 23 June 1812. The USA in ignorance of this declared war on Britain on 25 June 1812.

    Does anyone know when the news of Perceval's death reached Washington and what part it played in the US debates at that time?

    Just to keep the historic timeline in order and co-ordinated, Napoleon invaded Russia on 23 June 1812 and so began the march on Moscow. Russia had angered Napoleon by flouting the 'Continental System' the embargo on trade with Britain imposed by France wherever its power and influence could reach.

    By the way, the assassination is attributed to a lone figure, a bankrupt who blamed the British Government for his misfortunes. However a new book just out suggest a conspiracy theory  - that Perceval was removed precisely to enable a change in government. I link to a review of this book with no views on its contents as I haven't read it. Caveat Lector.

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

    by saugatojas on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:16:24 AM PDT

  •  Tecumseh and Tenskwatwa (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckydog, gizmo59, Dave in Northridge
    (Incidentally, EVERY representation I've seen of the brothers looks like this: Tecumseh as honorary white man, Tenskwatawa very "other)
    In some ways, that's accurate.  After the Battle of Tippecanoe, Tecumseh retreated northeastward and joined the British when they invaded Michigan from Upper Canada (now Ontario).  The red coat Tecumseh with shoulder decorations reflects that Tecumseh was offered the rank of brigadier general in the British Army (he refused).  The medal is that of King George III, with whom Tecumseh allied.

    Tenskwatawa, on the other hand, gathered Indians who were sick of the settlers and their ways.  Gussying him up in European garb would be an insult to his memory.

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:53:06 AM PDT

    •  Glad you commented on this (0+ / 0-)

      I couldn't see any reason for the characterization beyond the clothing either. The indigenous peoples had been trading with the Europeans for over a century and it was hardly uncommon for them to wear at least some European style clothing.

      Given the background you've provided, if the portrait is of US origin, I'd imagine the intent was to identify Tecumseh as an agent of the British rather than an attempt to present him as an "honorary white man." I think Dave may have fallen into the error of anachronistic projection: projecting modern sensitivities into a past period where they simply don't apply.

      The substantive question is whether or not Tecumseh ever wore such items. If he did, it suggests that he had his own agenda for doing so, rather than having a perception imposed upon him. It's important to recognize the agency of the indigenous peoples, particularly when dealing with outstanding leaders such as Tecumseh.

      •  My Interpretation... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge

        I took Dave's remark to mean that Tecumseh tends to be portrayed with more European facial features, while the portaits of Tenskwatawa are more grotesque, emphasizing his alienness.

        Of course, I haven't really looked at a lot of portaits of the two men.

        Oh, and weird factoid:  Tenskwatawa is supposed to be, according to some speculation, the originator of the fabled Zero-Year Curse.  Believe it, or Not !

        "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

        by quarkstomper on Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:02:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well maybe (0+ / 0-)

          but neither of them looks particularly European to me. True Tenskwatawa is shown scowling with a scar and a blind eye (at least that's what it looks like to me.) Again, how accurate is the depiction? Was Tenskwatawa scarred and blind in one eye?
          If he was, that leaves us with the scowl, which strikes me as pretty thin evidence for deducing that Tecumseh was intended to be a "honorary white man."

          It would interesting to know what the contemporary popular view of Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa was amongst Americans. Assuming, of course, the images are of American rather than British origin.  

          •  Tecumseh: surprisingly respectful. (0+ / 0-)

            The town of Tecumseh, Michigan was settled in 1824, while the Battle of Tippecanoe and the Taking of Ft. Detroit (mastermined by Tecumseh for the British) was well within living memory.  There are also towns named Tecumseh in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.  

            General Harrison saw him as "an uncommon genius"  He was and is a national hero in Canada.  Sir Isaac Brock, who fought with Tecumseh at Detroit said "A more gallant and sagacious warrior doesn’t exist. (Link)

            General William Tecumseh Sherman's father obviously respected Tecumseh.  

            The Prophet:  not quite as respected.  After all, his side started the Battle of Tippecanoe while Tecumseh was away, then lost it, to the great grief of Indians in northern Indiana and the ruin of Tecumseh's Confederacy.

            "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

            by Yamaneko2 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 11:08:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Land warrants, ripple effect. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, ozsea1

    Many veterans of Army service during the War of 1812 received land warrants at the end of their service - a sorta certificate that entitled the veteran to acreage in territory to be added to the US.

    The promise to veterans represented in those warrants created various political pressures. There was also much speculation and profiteering on those warrants. It could be said that some of the pressure and speculation added to motivations for the US to acquire and control more territory.

    Congress did not designate land as eligible for redemption via those warrants until the 1840's. At that time, Congress designated land in Alabama for those warrants - land that had been ancestral lands of the Native Americans who were subjected to the wars of Indian Removal.

    Ripple effect.

    •  Actually, it was also to spur traffic to the West (0+ / 0-)

      since the warrants to land in Illinois had to be registered in Illinois.  It gave rise to land speculation as well.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 06:50:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dave! I can't wait to read this diary at my break (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    from work this morning!

    But I wanted to tell you right now that I have begun reading 1831-- I think that was one of the books you recommended to me.  Love it!!


    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed May 23, 2012 at 04:33:45 AM PDT

  •  Of course, the Battle of Lake Erie (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Quicklund

    actually occurred a lot closer to Erie, PA, than to Cleveland.  Further, Eire is home to Perry's ship, the brig Niagara.  It's a shame Erie can't get its act together to host a proper commemoration like this.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:35:59 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, that song is interesting, but what about the (0+ / 0-)

    Battle of Kookamonga?

  •  1854 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, ozsea1

    I once read that just as we used Britain's distraction with Napoleon in 1812 as an excuse to invade Canada, that there were factions within the US that wanted to do the same during the Crimean War (but Southern legislators wouldn't go for any plan that would expand non-slave territory).

    •  in 1854 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund, ozsea1

      the Democrats had designs on Cuba and Central America too, as areas where slavery could expand. It was bad enough that the Compromise of 1850 created a situation where there was one more free state than slave state.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 06:48:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It was the H.M.S Leopard, not Leopold. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    And I return to reading. Enjoying the diary. I can't believe I forgot this year was the 200th anniversary of America's (rather pointless) involvement in what was essentially the second world-wide war.

  •  And now for something completely evil (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Crider, ozsea1

    You can sing the theme song from The Beverly Hillbillies to the tune of The Battle of New Orleans. Go ahead. Try it. Now, if you are of a certain age, you will not be able to get this song out of your head all day. My work is done here.

  •  Good old Francis Scott Key (5+ / 0-)

    He knew an old drinking song (when he knew one).

    "Our" song was written for the Anacreontic Society, probably around 1771.

    To Anacreon in Heav'n, where he sat in full glee,
    A few sons of harmony sent in a petition
    That he their Inspirer and patron would be;
    When this answer arriv'd from the Jolly Old Grecian "Voice, fiddle and flute, "no longer be mute,
    "I'll lend you my name and inspire you to boot,
    "And, besides, I'll instruct you, like me, to intwine
    "The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

    Ye Sons of Anacreon, then join hand in hand;
    Preserve unanimity, friendship and love!
    'Tis yours to support what's so happily plann'd;
    You've the sanction of Gods and the fiat of Jove. While thus we agree Our toast let it be:
    "May our club flourish happy, united and free!
    "And long may the sons of Anacreon intwine
    "The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

  •  Why do you call them Republicans? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    The party you refer to is the Democratic-Republican party, which is the same party of today's Democrats.  Yes, they held positions back then that are really more in line with today's Republicans, but that party has absolutely no relation to the eventual Republican party which would rise out of the ashes of the Whigs.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:32:26 AM PDT

    •  Because THEY called themselves Republicans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brian A

      as opposed to the Federalists.  Of course they have no resemblance to the party that would rise out of the ashes of the Whigs, just as that party has little resemblance to today's republican party.  Yes, Democratic-Republicans as soon as "Democratic" lost the radioactivity the French Revolution had given the word, but not the Democratic party until the election of 1828.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:47:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, thats interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge

        Makes sense that they wouldn't want to be associated with the mess going on in France.  I guess I am thinking more of the party of Jackson (which, judging by your first paragraph, you're itching to write about!)

        "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

        by Brian A on Wed May 23, 2012 at 08:02:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  next week! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          after May 30 I'll be out of town for two of the next three weeks (grading AP US History exams and a NEH seminar) and the one diary I intend to write between now and then will cover Andrew Jackson and Indian removal.

          -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

          by Dave in Northridge on Wed May 23, 2012 at 08:08:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Don't forget Martin van Buren bears some blame (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Quicklund

    He could have stopped or reversed Jackson's policies, averting some of the worst suffering - but he did nothing and let it all happen. Ratfink.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:50:30 AM PDT

  •  Seems odd to celebrate a war. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To note the passing of its bicentennial, sure, but to celebrate it?

  •  Love the Diary. Esp History. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, ozsea1

    Some thoughts as I've tried to learn about it.

    I think Madison deserves a bit more credit. As did the first lady.

    While the "War" itself might not be the source of patriotic discourse, there were some incredible individual acts worthy of remembrance.

    As to Madison- His greatest mistake was trusting whomever that idiotic Secretary of War/Defense was who refused to believe D.C. would ever be attacked. Following Madison himself showed an incredible ability to deal with the war (following D.C.'s "invasion"), from horseback. I cannot imagine today any leader basically running a country while on a horse in semi-flight of an invasion.

    The first lady- She was literally one of the last people to "flee" dc. She knew how important the Washington Painting was and refused to leave without it. Again can you imagine a politicians wife risking her life/safety over a symbol?

    After seeing what happened in D.C., the people of Baltimore deserve a lot of credit for their un-selfishness. For one, the common man gave up even his source of income (boats) as they sank them to guard the harbor. Men and women came together to prepare the City for naval attack. The experience is what brought about the National Anthem (as Key was actually not very patriotic and happened to be kept on a British vessel as a part of an exchange? But when the Commander of the Fort asked the Largest Flag ever be made, and he saw his country men and women doing everything they could to protect their way of life he wrote The Star Spangled banner, moved by the battle. It was I believe a poem and then got put to some popular music of the time. But that poem galvanized people outside of 1812, as prior people did not necessarily think of themselves as "patriotic" and your average citizen didn't much care about being a citizen. This experience changed that.

    I would also note that the scene under Jackson was similar. The people of New Orleans all contributed. Albeit the most famous battle came after the war, is just an afterthought as at the time they had no idea and only knew if they did not do anything (non-military people) they risked the fate of DC.

  •  "Old Ironsides" You might like this Dave (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    My Great-great-great Grandfather served as a 3rd Sergeant in a Mass militia during "Mr. Madison's War." He was stationed in Boston and, to my knowledge, did not deploy from there, but I have not researched this fully.

    The War of 1812 also saw the famous naval battle between the USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere.

    The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the US.  It might be in the world, but that is disputed by claims for HMS Victory, which dates back to about the same time period.

    My Dad, when he was a student at Cambridge Rindge, contributed pennies to a campaign to renovate this ship in the 1930's.  He choose to enlist in the US Navy after Pearl Harbor because of this feeling of "sympathy" with the old vessel.

    in 1997, USS Constitution did a long sail from it's berth in Charlestown to Marblehead, MA, a site with a claim to being the "birthplace of the US Navy."  My brother, then a Chief Petty Officer in the Naval Reserve had the honor of being on duty to respond to the sail of this historic vessel.  He met the SecNav on a VIP platform and chatted with the Sec about the beauty and history of that day.  

    "Old Ironsides" won't sail far this year, but her annual turnaround cruise and cannon salute to the Republic will occur during festivities to mark Boston's observance of the War of 1812. IT should be quite the sight to see.

  •  1812, The Navy's War is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, ozsea1

    an excellent source.  It defines how the USA gained a navy and a standing army.  I highly recommend it.

  •  also from the Canadian side (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    'Flames Across the Water' is a fine account of the war. Pretty much steady see-saw along the Niagra. Much of the war was a fiasco because the Americans did not have a standing army, and the British were 20 years in against Napoleon.  But yes, it sure did put the US Navy into the worlds' naval powers. And, some of the horses the British captured at New Orleans ended up at Waterloo!  

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