While I enjoy the final week of my Canadian summer vacation (The novelty of my American accent has rubbed off, so I’m require to leave), The GBOAT will feature Canadian themed posts. Maybe you’ll learn something but let’s be honest: you’re only skimming.
Do you remember The War of 1812? It happened 200 years ago this year, which is interesting because no American cares to talk much about the War of 1812. There are no bicentennial celebrations going on. The casual American citizen remembers that the White House was destroyed and really doesn’t recall anything else. In fact, that’s even giving casual citizens a lot of credit.
But beyond that, nobody in America studies the War of 1812. It was a huge conflict, and one that really did have historic implications, yet no American really knows much about it. It’s the Korean War of wars that happened before the Korean War.
Why is this? Because nothing was really accomplished. It’s not like any country won anything major in the war. Nobody became independant. In fact, the entire motivation behind the war seemed to be Britain calling up America and saying, “Hey Yanks, wanna try this war thing again? Didn’t work out for us last year, but we’re SUPPOSED to be an empire and all so I think we have to defend our honour.” and America was all like, “yeah k lol”
Yet the people who to this day still hold the War of 1812 to heart? A country that didn’t even exist at the time: Canada. You may think it’s odd that a country that isn’t 200 years old would be celebrating something that happened 200 years ago. It would be like Americans honoring the French and Indian War and fist bumping each other about the colonies.
Perhaps the reason behind this American apathy, however, is an issue of sheer quantity over quality. Americans have the Revolutionary War to boast about. Then there is the Civil War to debate about, and the World Wars after that. Canadians? This is what they have.
So what exactly happened in the war? Well, when Britain decided to jump back into the States (seemingly because it took them years to realize they lost the American Revolution), they were held off by the Americans.
After this, however, the Americans decided they would barge into Ontario and see if they could bust more British heads. During the American Revolution, of course, there was an attempt to free the Canadian colonies as well, but it didn’t work out. This time around, the Americans were just going to jump in, say “Surprise!”, and try to conquer it. This made the residents say, “Being set free is pretty neat and stuff, but being conquered? No thanks” cause Canadians are polite.
So the people living in what would become Canada took a stand. They pushed the invaders back south, and kept a hold of their land. Sure, they didn’t actually OWN the land, but that’s not really important.
So ultimately, Britain didn’t gain anything from America, and America didn’t gain anything from Canada. Other than the war crushing the chances of a British sponsored Native nation in the American midwest, nothing really happened in the war. Except it does prove once again that the British will never be above using people to try and get back at Americans.
Yet while the War of 1812 seems fairly unremarkable due to it’s utter lack of results (also, sorry again, Natives), it’s dear to the Canadian hearts. Not only is it pretty much the only war they can claim some sort of proper involvement in, it really was highly influential in the development of Canada as a nation.
Through the War of 1812, Canadian residents were able to show that they can defend themselves, and that they were willing to. A group of people who typically liked to keep to themselves decided to make a stand about something and show that they were proud enough to defend their identity. Simply put, the War of 1812 paved the way for Canada to become a nation….about 50 years later.
Sure, Canada didn’t have a true Revolutionary War, but they had the War of 1812, which fit with the Canadian mentality of not wanting to be a bother and caused the most patient revolution ever. Really, without the War of 1812, there would likely be no Canada.
And that’s why Canadians keep bring the war up over and over and over and over….