September 12, 2012

Who won the War of 1812?

Many have asked this question since the end of the War of 1812. Did Canada really win the war since they stopped the American invasion? Did the U.S. manage to win by securing their western frontier and proving to the world that they were a powerful force? There are many factors to consider when asking who won the War of 1812.

Many argue that Canada and Great Britain won the war due to the failed American invasions. The U.S. attempted over a dozen invasions of Canada with all failing to capture Canada. By the end of the war, Canada was secure, the country retained its connection to Britain, and the war laid the foundation for future independence and a lasting peace with the U.S. In addition, the British achieved their aim by holding Canada while fighting in a life and death struggle against Napoleon.

Treaty of Ghent
Some maintain that the U.S. won the War of 1812 by claiming that the U.S. government only attacked Canada as a means to an end. By attacking Canada, the U.S. was attempting to force Great Britain to relinquish their aggressive policies on the high seas, including the stopping of American ships and the impressment of American sailors. With the defeat of Napoleon, the Americans no longer needed to worry about British policies on the high seas since there was no need to continue these British policies.

Another main goal of the U.S. was to stop the British from supplying natives on the American western frontier. With the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, the U.S. guaranteed their future expansion west. Since the treaty did not adequately protect the natives, the American government was able to continue their expansion west. Many historians recognize that the native population was the clear loser in the War of 1812. The natives were not adequately addressed in the Treaty of Ghent and only weak provisions were established to preserve their way of life.

These are only some of the arguments made in order to answer the provocative question of who won the War of 1812. If you want help discovering who won the war you can join the Fort Erie Bicentennial Committee for their Gala Dinner and Great Debate on September 15. David Frum and Roy MacGregor will debate the issues surrounding who won the war. Don’t miss this great event. For more details, please click here.

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