Monday, 18 June 2018

1812 overture

On this day, two hundred and six years ago, James Madison—at the urging of Andrew Jackson—declared war on British Empire and her allies over a variety of reasons including the policy of impressment of American citizens to fight Napoleon’s armies, British respect for Native American sovereignty, honour, and the desire to expand north into the British territory that would become Canada.
The three year conflict, considered by most to be a minor theatre of the larger Napoleonic wars, ended in stalemate for the chief belligerents with enslaved people and the Native Americans, having lost an ally and advocate in Europe though not necessarily their sympathies, being the losers. The big take away lesson that the best way to maintain peace with the United States for Britain was appeasement and indulge the way it was presented as a victorious “second war of independence” in the popular imagination.