In some banter back and forth with one of our fellow bloggers, Silver Fox, a discussion opened up about Canadian and American History... and the .. er... discrepancies that exist depending on which country is telling the story. This inspired this post.
So. Once upon a time in 1812, there was a war between the British colonies of Upper and Lower Canada (we weren't just plain Canada back then... we were still part of the British Empire). The war started for various reasons... If your an American it started because the British drafted some of your merchants into the British Royal Navy, and bruised your dignity by assisting the native peoples against American expansion into their territory. If your a Canadian, it started because the Americans invaded, swept up our towns people into the militia, and took away Native rights and land. Blah Blah Blah.
The Americans were winning, in the beginning. They took all of Lake Erie and the shores, and much of what is now Western Ontario. However, after the British finished kicking the snot out of Napoleon, they sent huge naval armies and took the battle as far as New York and New Orleans. Both sides invaded, lost ground, and went home with nothing. The territories that were temporarily held were given back by the magical treaty of Ghent and life went on.
That being said, I find it interesting that Canadians think that the war of 1812 was a British victory, but if you check the American history books, it was an American victory.
Here's what Wiki had to say:
In British North America (which formed the Dominion of Canada in 1867), the War of 1812 was seen by Loyalists as a victory, as they had successfully defended their borders from an American takeover. The outcome gave Empire-oriented Canadians confidence and, together with the postwar "militia myth" that the civilian militia had been primarily responsible rather than the British regulars, was used to stimulate a new sense of Canadian nationalism.
A long-term implication of the militia myth—which was false, but remained popular in the Canadian public at least until World War I—was that Canada did not need a regular professional army. The U.S. Army had done poorly, on the whole, in several attempts to invade Canada, and the Canadians had shown that they would fight bravely to defend their country. But the British did not doubt that the thinly populated territory would be vulnerable in a third war. "We cannot keep Canada if the Americans declare war against us again," Admiral Sir David Milne wrote to a correspondent in 1817.
By the 21st century it was a forgotten war in the U.S., Britain and Quebec, although still remembered in the rest of Canada, especially Ontario. In a 2009 poll, 37% of Canadians said the war was a Canadian victory, 9% said the U.S. won, 15% called it a draw, and 39%—mainly younger Canadians—said they knew too little to comment.
Today, American popular memory includes the British capture and destruction of the U.S. Presidential Mansion in August 1814, which necessitated its extensive renovation. Another memory is the successful American defence of Fort McHenry in September 1814, which inspired the lyrics of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The successful Captains of the U.S. Navy became popular heroes with plates with the likeness of Decatur, Steward, Hull, and others, becoming popular items, ironically many of them were made in England. The Navy became a cherished institution beloved for the victories that it gave against all odds.
To my American friends, I'm going to say it was a draw. We freed a bunch of your slaves and settled them in Eastern Canada (although England ended up compensating Washington for them later... apparently your slave owners were angry at the loss of their "property". You went back to your country, we stayed in ours, and later kicked the British out (If the queen is watching, you know you really have no power right? We still respect you and your office, but we're not British, we're Canadian... although... thanks for giving us a paid holiday on your birthday, that's really terrific of you).
So we still have no army... and I think we own 1 submarine that still floats... although it was built 5 decades ago. And we're still us. I'm not sure what would happen should you try to invade again... perhaps we'll ride our dog sleds into battle. Or cows... we have lots of those eh?
It's been 200 years and we're still here. Some would think it's a miracle, with a giant military based society on our doorsteps. I think they just keep us here for our bacon. You may think they would invade just to steal our hockey team so they could stop losing at the Olympics, but perhaps they like the challenge.
note: I'm not a history major. Just going by what I learned in school... and that was a long... loooong time ago. If you have a comment about the facts (or lack there-of) in this post, please enlighten us. My main goal is entertainment, if you laughed even once, then my mission is complete. Americans, I love you, even if you are crazy and make war just for the sake of making war.
And they all lived happily ever after.