Canada and the War of 1812This year is the 200th anniversaryNot many people remember it at all, especially in AmericaThe War of 1812 was basically Canada’s War of IndependenceFor the Americans it was a war of conquestFor Canadians it was a war of survivalBetween 1812 and 1814, Canada won the right to not be American
The Lead-up to WarLouis XVI helped the Americans with their American Revolution was now in the middle of a revolution of his own.During the French Revolution Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette had their heads chopped off by a guillotineA ruthless little general named Napoleon seized power and launched France on a European war of conquest.
The War of 1812What is important to realize, from a Canadian perspective, is this: The French Revolution led to the Napoleonic Wars of 1793-1815 The War of 1812 was the North American phase of this conflictWith Britain bogged down in Europe fighting Napoleon, the Americans saw their chance at capturing Canada – and they took it.
“Free trade and sailors’ rights”The Americans also had some genuine grievances against the British The British were preventing France from trading with the United States The British Navy had also asserted its right to board foreign ships and press any British citizens they found into military service. In 1807, they fired upon a U.S. vessel, the Chesapeake, killing several men, before boarding the ship and arresting four so- called deserters – two of whom were American citizens. Britain later apologized, and released the Americans but the damage had been done
A Mere Matter of MarchingAmericans say they were the underdogs in 1812.Why? Because they were up against the British Empire!BUT! Great Britain was tied up in Europe, and Canada lay poorly defended and exposed.Consider the real odds: Population of the United States: 7.5 million Population of Upper Canada: less than 80,000 The entire population of the British North American colonies combined was less than 1 millionHow could the Americans possibly lose?
War!On June 18, 1812 the United States of America declared war on Great Britain – and made immediate plans for the Conquest of CanadaRemember Canada didn’t exist as a separate country at this point
The War in Upper Canada (Ontario)The original Loyalist population of Upper Canada had been swamped by an influx of American settlers whose true loyalty remained in doubtFortunately (for Canada) the U.S. forces were very poorly organized and launched scattered attacks rather than focusing their approachMost of the battles took place along the boarder between the United States and the British North American Colonies (Canada)
General Isaac BrockBrock was the man in charge of defending the colony from the American invadersHe was a brilliant strategist and an inspiring leaderIsaac Brock was long remembered as the fallen hero and saviour of Upper Canada
Tecumseh Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief that was allied with the British His main goals were to Stop American expansion into Native territory To secure a sovereign First Nations Confederacy in the interior. He brought together dozens of different Nations and fought along side the British for tactical reasons, not loyalty.
Bluffing their way to victory The Americans were confident that the Canadians would flock over to the American side of the fight – but they didn’t! Brock had an idea – there weren’t very many British regular soldiers so he dressed Canadian militia in the red coats of the regular army to make them seem like they were professional soldiers He also knew that the Americans were terrified of the Natives and Brock and Tecumseh used this to their advantage Tecumseh paraded his men in front of the American Garrison then led them through the woods to join the end of the line again. Then they marched past again. Tecumseh marched the same men by three times and the Americans never caught on Their estimates of Tecumseh’s forces ranged as high as 3000 warriors. In fact, Tecumseh had fewer than 600 men on hand.
Summer 1812 VIDEO (28:00)Describe the Battle of DetroitWhat happened in the Niagara Region?What happened in the Montreal region?
BattlesApril 27, 1813 – General Dearborn captures York (Toronto)June 6, 1813 – Battle of Stoney Creek – American advance stopped coldJune 24, 1813 – Battle of Beaver Dams – Americans turned backJuly 31, 1813 – Americans re-capture York (Toronto)October 5, 1813 – Battle of Moraviantown – Tecumseh dies
September 1813 The Americans Invade Canada – Again (1:04:00)What happened during the American’s invasion of Quebec?Why were the battles of Chatteauguay and Chrysler’s Farm so important to Canadian mythology?Describe Laura Secord’s legend.
Summer 1814 The American Capital Burns (1:20:30)What happened to American slaves? How did it impact the Americans?Describe the events surrounding the attack of Washington DCHow did the British legitimize burning down Washington?What happened to the American economy? Why did they trade with the enemy?
What Next?Britain attempted peace talks (in Europe)Natives not invitedFailed invasions of New York, Baltimore and New Orleans by the British
1815 Peace (1:47:00)What conditions were met for peace?Why did both countries celebrate thinking victory?How did it impact the Natives?Who do you think won?
So Who Won? Do you want to know the The United States lost a war strange thing about the War of and won a conference. 1812? The Americans think Britain’s First Nation allies they won it. Really. were completely shut out of the Do you want to know what’s negotiations even stranger? They’re right. So were the Canadians Not in a military sense of The Americans had refused to course. allow either at the bargaining On the battlefield, the table. Americans lost. They didn’t The United States came away even come close to their goal – with their sovereignty the conquest of Canada reaffirmed But war is after all a political But... we did burn down the tool, and what counts in the White House! end are the long term results, not individual heroics
The Final ScoreWho won? Who lost? The final score stands like this: The Americans won The Canadians broke even The First Nations lost
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