June 20, 2013

Canada's War of 1812 monument.

"Toronto artist Adrienne Alison, who has been chosen to design the monument, said Tuesday that the inclusion of a woman on the three-metre tall monument will likely be one of the changes that result from the final design process now underway with the government."
Alison’s original concept included seven figures — all male — representing militiamen, sailors, British soldiers, Métis, First Nations fighters and others, as required by the proposal guidelines....

The monument is expected to cap two years of federal government-sponsored commemorations of the War of 1812 that cost in the neighbourhood of $30 million. The federal government has termed the war a “seminal event” in the making of Canada but has sparked little excitement among Canadians.
It seems that we here in the United States paid close to zero attention to the 200-year anniversary of that war. By the way, who won? The Canadians — even though little excited — seem more stoked about this than we are, so that might suggest that they think they won more than we do.
"Had things gone differently in this conflict, Canada would not exist today, and the bottom line is we are still here."
Canadian triumphalism! Settle down, Canada.

On the subject memorializing women in war, from the last link, here's U.S. heroine Betsey Doyle:

60 comments:

cdw said...

I hope she includes Laura Secord as the heroine of the war for us in Canada. But I think she will venerate the common woman, the farmer's wife, the miller's wife, active word...wife. These women built and sustained upper canada before and after the war. Today, they would be very hard to find.

CatherineM said...

But they weren't Canadians then were they? They were just the British.

Canadians with a chip on their shoulder like to brag that they "turned the white house black." The first time I heard that, I thought, wait, you are bragging about the war of 1812? How about the US burned down Yorktown (Tortonto).

Crazy.

eddie willers said...

And out of the whole thing, it is Dolly Madison who is best remembered.

viator said...

Did the War of 1812 come before or after WW I? Ask Miss USA (or a sample of high school graduates).

Expat(ish) said...

I married into a Canadian family and they were all "meh" on the anniversary.

They seem only slightly more interesting in the war of 182 than the modern Brits are about 4/July.

-XC

James Graham said...

If they love their independence why do so many Canadians live so close to the USA border?

(Don't give me any of that "it's too cold further north" baloney.)

Nomennovum said...

One of the great Canadian myths is that it was they who burned down the White House, not the British. This has been widely debunked, but it persists, with some individuals believing that their ancestor was among those who marched on Washington, DC.

Americans should just smile at such Great White North nonsense and nod politely at the plaid-clad retad who states such ahistorical moose dung.

rhhardin said...

Who won?

Tchaikovsky.

ricpic said...

It's too cold further north.

Scott M said...

WAIT!

Why didn't they hire a Chinese guy to do it?

Nomennovum said...

Did the War of 1812 come before or after WW I? Ask Miss USA.

I personally that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have history books and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future.

YoungHegelian said...

Let's see: in the Ottawa newspaper, the statue for Parliament Hill in Ottawa, done by a Toronto based artist. What's it all got in common: They're all in Ontario.

Ontaronians sometimes have this bee up their butts about being this lonely outpost of British Culture in North America surrounded by the American barbarians, the snotty Quebecois Frogs, the hayseeds to the West, and God Save Us All from what passes for humanity out there in the Maritimes, eh?

This whole project reeks of Ontario, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's one big reason why the other provinces just can't that worked up over it.

edutcher said...

We won, of course.

They paid for the White House at New Orleans and North Point.

PS Leave it to the Canucks to make their monument as PC as possible.

PPS The Metis were involved in the war of 1812? And the First Nations?

Hate to tell them, but a lot of their "First Nations" are Americans.

Seeing Red said...

I watched The History Channel's "War of 1812." It was fascinating.

We were the Battle of New Orleans. It didn't matter what color you were, we all fought together against the Lobsterbacks.

eddie willers said...

Ontaronians sometimes have this bee up their butts...

As is tradition.

Terry said...

We celebrate the Battle of New Orleans instead of our winning the war because we didn't win the war.

SJ said...

Who won the War of 1812?

Well, Commodore Perry (who has a monument dedicated to his honor on an island in Lake Erie) won a portion of the naval battle of the War of 1812.

That was the last naval battle on the Great Lakes.

The portion of the Park Service that manages the monument did put up some data on the 200th Anniversary of that battle.

Mitch H. said...

It was one of those wars where the better question is, who lost? In this case, the Indians lost.

The US didn't conquer Canada like the Kentucky crowd wanted, but while the seaboard was getting raided and burned, the Old Northwest ran red with blood, and thousands died along the Canadian border, those sneaky Georgians and Tennesseans were nailing down the rest of what became the Deep South. And in the end, Tecumseh died, his confederacy was one with the ages, and the American empire would keep rolling westwards over the Mississippi to the ocean, rolling over everything between.

Nomennovum said...

[W]e didn't win the war. -- Terry

Yes we did: We didn't annex Canada.

Paddy O said...

"By the way, who won?"

It's one of those wars where no side really won, I'd argue, but a lot of constituencies won and lost. The US Navy won, as it gained respect and financing leading to a long rise in power. The British navy lost, it was still dominant force but it was seen as vulnerable and began a long decline.

Larry J said...

In the War of 1812, the British burned much of Washington DC including the White House. And in all this time, we never had the decency to thank them.

Nomennovum said...

Canadians with a chip on their shoulder like to brag that they "turned the white house black."

Ahem. We Americans did that. In November 2008.

Yikes. Bye!

mpeirce said...

It seems that we here in the United States paid close to zero attention to the 200-year anniversary of that war.

Here in Ohio we're celebrating the Battle of Lake Erie this coming August.

http://battleoflakeerie-bicentennial.com

Clyde said...

What?! No GLBTIQXYZ? No differently-able in a wheelchair? No deaf/hard of hearing signing battle commands? There must be a bigger statue! It would be the inclusive thing to do!

TosaGuy said...

The U.S. won because it didn't lose. Had it lost, the nation may well have failed.

The Battle of New Orleans was fought after the treaty of Ghent. If the British had won and taken New Orleans, I can guarantee they would not have given it back. The British would have controlled all trade sent down the Mississippi River and either stopped it or collected crippling tariffs -- essentially shutting ff US settlement to the central United States.

EMD said...

Is there a black dude in the monument?

Because if not, that would be racist.

David said...

My 4th great grandfather was a refugee from the United States after the American Revolution. He had been a private in Burgoyne's army and was therefore seen as a traitor, even though he probably had little choice in joining. He would have been tried for treason had he stayed.

England (not Canada) created a category alled United Empire Loyalists and allowed them to come to Canada. They were eligible for land that they could homestead. It was poor land and very remote.

Come the war of 1812, my grandfather and the other refugees came under suspicion of being loyal to the United States. Local officials tried to take the land back but were unsuccessful.

After about 100 years in Canada my ancestors came back to the United States. More opportunity. Less paranoia.

David said...

rhhardin said...
Who won?

Tchaikovsky.

Yeah, his tribute to the magnificent American defeat of Napoleon.

edutcher said...
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edutcher said...

David said...

My 4th great grandfather was a refugee from the United States after the American Revolution. He had been a private in Burgoyne's army and was therefore seen as a traitor, even though he probably had little choice in joining. He would have been tried for treason had he stayed.

England (not Canada) created a category alled United Empire Loyalists and allowed them to come to Canada. They were eligible for land that they could homestead. It was poor land and very remote.

Come the war of 1812, my grandfather and the other refugees came under suspicion of being loyal to the United States. Local officials tried to take the land back but were unsuccessful.

After about 100 years in Canada my ancestors came back to the United States. More opportunity. Less paranoia.


He was one of the few that stayed.

I've read about 90% of the Tories eventually returned, much like many of the Confederates that left the US in fear of being executed as traitors.

Sigivald said...

As I have learned from having a lot of Canadian friends, only Canadians care about the War of 1812.

It is cute to watch them insist that "we burned down the White House", as if British Regulars stationed in (but not from) the Dominion were "Canadians".

I suppose when it's all you've got, you come back to it a lot...

ed said...

Note to self:

1. Invade Canada

2. Abolish French language in Canada

3. Force Canadians to eat real bacon

ed said...

The War of 1812; loser gets Canada.

Jay Vogt said...

Or, as we down here in the states like to call it, "The woa of noth-un female agresh-ahn".

Mumpsimus said...

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Y'all are missing out on the deep tradition shown in that pic of dear Betsey. There she is, right on the front lines, and what's she doing? Why, cooking, of course.

Blair said...

This "Canadian" vs "British" argument is purely from a US viewpoint. In 1812 I will wager that "Canadians" saw no distinction between themselves and the "British". They would have regarded themselves, whether native born or born in the British Isles, as British regardless. That was the whole point of Canada in the first place: To be British and be under the rule of the King (or Queen).

It is completely legitimate therefore for Canadians to say "we" burned down the White House, because "we" were "they" were "we". They were, in fact, fighting for the "we" to remain as part of the "they"!

Fred Drinkwater said...

She probably had a blog:
"Things wot I made then fed to the enemy"

traditionalguy said...

The Canadians are superficially civil, being British and all that. But scratch an Ontario man and you will find a Scots-Irish fighter. Good thing we out number them 100 to 1.

What the Canadian volunteers did fighting Nazi Germany in WWII for the British, and also for Allies including the USA, was fierce and was extremely brave. Too bad they don't get better PR in The States.

ricpic said...

Will Sacajewea be included in the 1812 monument? I don't care if she wasn't a participant, it can't be a true multiculti monument without Sacajewea.

Steven said...

It's true that the US didn't successfully seize Canada . . . but that's like pointing out the US failed to successfully invade the Japanese Home Islands in World War 2. That was a strategy, not a goal.

Seizing Canada was intended as a means to that end, because if the US controlled Canada, the US would control critical naval stores and dictate terms to the Royal Navy (the other source of those stores being Scandanavia, then under Napoleon's control).

The US goal in the war was to make the British Navy stop attacking and seizing US ships and impressing American sailors. The US won; the British ended the practices.

At the same time, the goal of the Canadian militia was to stop the US from conquering Canada. They also succeeded, and so the proto-nation of Canada could be said to have won.

The side that lost the war was the British, who not only failed to win anything (which was humiliating given their military advantages over the US), but as a consequence of the peace wound up conceding a US claim on Fort Astoria and thus strengthened US claims to the Oregon Country.

Random said...

Steven, Britain didn't want the war, and was perfectly happy to exit with the status quo ante. As for supposed military avantages, I'm not sure how you make being locked in to a death struggle with Napoleon that far overshadowed anything happening in North America as an advantage, but I'm sure you'll find a way. It was no coincidence BTW that the American government scrambled to negotiate an end to the war as Napoleon was driven from power.

Let me offer you a metaphor that may help put the war of 1812 into context. It's 1944, and the government of Mexico seeing that the US military is fully tied down in Europe and the Pacific, decides that this the perfect time to avenge the humiliations of the 19th century and declares war on the US and invades.

It's a fiasco of course - the invasions are turned back by the Californian and Texan national guards, Mexico City is burned in a training mission by the USAAF, but on the other hand a hastily planned and ill-led attempt to seize Acapulco. It's now early summer of 1945 and American troops are heading back from Europe. An increasingly desperate Mexican government offers an immediate end to hostilities, and a US government which had barely noticed the war and is concentrating on Japan, agrees.

It's now almost 80 years later, and the only battle of the war the vast majority of Mexicans have heard of is Acapulco, and Mexican posters on the internet are claiming they won the war because the US - for the first time in a Mexican-American War - have failed to conquer any Mexican territory and have been forced to take Mexico seriously as an independent nation. How do you reply to them?

Random said...

Bah - "to seize Acapulco is a failure".

If it's not obvious BTW I've always thought the most straightforward verdict on the war is - the British won, the Americans drew and the Indians lost.

ken in sc said...

I am willing to let Canadians have their day of glory. I like Canadians. I have Canadians in my family. They are good people.

Paco Wové said...

They are good people.

Bless their little hearts!

ken in sc said...

Plus, I am retired from the Air Force . Every US Air Force member knows that the poem 'High Flight' was written by a Canadian. It still brings tears to my eyes.

ken in sc said...

Bless your heart Paco.

ken in sc said...

I didn't say it was little. I don't know you.

Mitch H. said...

Random almost has it, but instead of Acapulco, replace that with Veracruz. Although to be honest, the power discrepancy between Mexico and the US in 1944 is like five to ten times that of Great Britain and the US in 1812-1814.

Mitch H. said...
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Mitch H. said...
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ampersand said...

Blessed be the self righteous, for they shall inherit Canada

rcocean said...

Because of the war of 1812 Canada kept Quebec.

So the USA won.

Terry said...

Are Canadians 'citizens of Canada' or 'subjects of her majesty'?
Or both?

Lyle said...

Battle of New Orleans hasn't happened yet.

Suck it Britain.

Quaestor said...
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Quaestor said...

"Had things gone differently in this conflict, Canada would not exist today, and the bottom line is we are still here."

Had things gone differently in this conflict, America would not exist today, and the bottom line is we are still here.

The U.S. got all their pre-war complains about trade, freedom of the seas, impressment, etc. settled in their favor. We won. The invasion of Canada was a half-assed diversion. The Battle of New Orleans was epic and vastly important though it was technically fought after the war ended. Furthermore TosaGuy is dead on about British intent regarding New Orleans.

General Pakenham's army was composed of veterans of the Peninsular War. They best soldiers in the British Army, having recently defeated Soult's forces in Spain. They were the first British land force to win a significant campaign on the Continent since Marlborough's time. Pakenham were sent to wrest control of the Mississippi from the Americans before a peace could be settled, which would negate the advantages gained by Napoleon's sale of Louisiana to the United States in 1803. New Orleans was part of that deal. France had ceded it's colony of New Orleans to Spain in 1763. However, in 1801 France regained control of the city by arm-twisting their Spanish ally (the Emperor eventually replaced the House of Bourbon y Bourbon with his brother Joseph Bonaparte). The British regarded any Napoleonic policy as illegitimate, therefore they wanted to seize the territory for their empire at French and American expense, though Pitt allowed the Spanish Bourbons to believe that the Louisiana would revert to Spain come the end of the wars against Napoleon.

Random said...

"Had things gone differently in this conflict, America would not exist today, and the bottom line is we are still here."

Um, no. The war was a war of choice and agression on the part of the USA, hoping to get Canada by stabbing the British in the back while they were fighting for their lives in Europe. The status quo ante was a wholly satisfactory result for Britain - I've never really understood those Americans who think the war was about resisting a British attempt to reconquer the colonies. For all the world you guys sound like a disillusioned ex-wife who, after a bitter divorce, can't accept that her husband doesn't want her back.

"The U.S. got all their pre-war complains about trade, freedom of the seas, impressment, etc. settled in their favor."

Those issues were all settled before the war even started. They were barely even an excuse, never mind the key reason.

"The invasion of Canada was a half-assed diversion."

No, it was the sole remaining reason for the war after Britain conceded on essentially all the USA's legitimate grievances before the war even started.

"The Battle of New Orleans was epic and vastly important though it was technically fought after the war ended. Furthermore TosaGuy is dead on about British intent regarding New Orleans."

It was a trivial sideshow fought over territory that had already been conceded, and even if the British had wanted to change their minds they wouldn't have for one brazenly obvious reason - Napoleon had escaped by that point and the North American war needed to be closed down so the troops could be shipped back to Europe.

"General Pakenham's army was composed of veterans of the Peninsular War. They best soldiers in the British Army, having recently defeated Soult's forces in Spain."

Some were, some were new troops and about a third were men of the West India regiment, slaves who had earned their freedom by volunteering for army service and whose terms of enlistment meant they didn't serve outside the Caribbean. Pakenham himself BTW was a half-way decent staff officer who had never held an independent command in his life who got the gig largely because nobody else wanted it and partly because he was the nephew of the Duke of Wellington and there was a vague hope some of his uncle's genius would have rubbed off (it didn't).

Good post though, apart from all the stuff you got wrong anyway.

John Farrier said...

The war was a draw.

Many Americans wanted to annex part if not all of Canada. This objective was not achieved.

The British wanted to compel the US to cede northern New York, eastern Maine, the Louisiana Territory and most of the Old Northwest. This would have reduced the US to less than half of its territory. This objective was not achieved.

If it can be said that Canada won by continuing to exist, it can also be said that Canada lost because it did not expand its borders at the expense of the United States.

It was a draw.

Derek Brown said...

How can you stab a nation in the back that wont stop boarding your ships and impressing sailors. The real reason we don't talk very much about the War of 1812 is because the Northern Federalists behaved so ignominiously and rehashing that might lead to some questions about just why the South was supposed to grin and take it when things went against the South. The main shipping magnates of the Northeast while the war was raging attempted to negioate a seperate peace with the British. This was interrupted not by any second thoughts but because of the victory at New Orleans. If


The real loser of the war was constitutional government because the north demonstrated that their loyalty to the union was only as deep as their ability to dominate the government.