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The War of 1812: Conflict for a Continent

Successive generations of American and Canadian historians developed two parallel streams of historiography about … the War of 1812 in their national narratives, with little thought being given to the possibility that the streams might, or should, intersect,

All of which raises a problem for fair-minded armchair historians: how to get beyond the political iconography and nationalist spin to properly comprehend the war as a whole? And preferably without a reading list longer than the war itself. A welcome solution to this dilemma is the newly published The War of 1812: Conflict for a Continent by J.C.A. Stagg.

Multiple causes of the War of 1812

Treaties of land cession in the Old Northwest Territory

The main target for the British is the American ships (War of 1812, 2).

The most significant navy within the globe, the Royal Navy, was dynamically campaigning within Europe by obstructing the French ports as well as sustaining a military incidence over the widespread British Empire. In order to operate its ships, the Navy was allowed to create an impressment policy, which enabled it to enroll any British subject. Usually, captains would propel the press to review recruits from brothels and taverns within British mercantile ships or ports. Impressment also reached onto the decks of impartial commercial vessels, counting those within America. British warships completed a regular habit of restricting neutral shopping to inspect crew catalogs and eradicate British sailors for the military (Brinkley, 2011). Even though the legislation needed recruits to be of British descent, this status possessed insignificant interpretation forcing numerous Americans to undergo forced enrollment within the military.

Accordingly, the British viewed the Indian countries as a priceless collaborator as well as a cushion to its Canadian colony and offered arms. Assaults on American colonists within the Northwest further exacerbated tensions amid the United States and the Britain. The confederation’s incursions and existence obstructed American extension into affluent farmlands within the Northwest area. By 1810 and 1811, Westerners within Congress discovered the raids to be insufferable and wanted their permanent end (Brinkley, 2011). The British possessed the long-term objective of instituting a considerable nonaligned Indian state that would cover much of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. However, they were unable to maintain the Indian confederation, which was the central supporter of the British and discontinued communiqué with the planned neutral area.

An Ohio militia camp during the War of 1812 (Library of Congress)

Accordingly, the 1812 War began as the conflict between the United States and the United Kingdom. Much of the opposition that started the war commenced between the British and the Americans. In addition to this, both warring sides possessed definite allies between each other in order to attempt and shift colonial power from both countries. For the British, other allies comprised British Canada and the United Kingdom of Ireland and Great Britain. In addition to these allies, the British possessed other smaller allies. They comprised Shawnee, Chickamauga, Ojibway, Fox, Iroquois, Mingo, Kickapoo, Delaware, Wyandot, Ottawa, Wyandot, Mascouten, Potawatomi and Creek Red Sticks (Brinkley, 2011). On the opposing side, the United States possessed fewer allies. They comprised Choctaw, Creek Allies and Cherokee.

Finally, the War of 1812 resulted in the death of the Federalist Party....

After the North Korean invasion of the South, Nichols witnessed the massacre of hundreds of South Koreans by the ROKA at Taejon. In his memoirs, he misstated where the massacre took place in order to uphold the official army narrative that blamed the killings on the communists; an allegation reported uncritically in Roy Appleman’s official army history of the Korean War.

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On June 18th 1812 came a declaration of war against Great Britain.


Fanny Doyle on the gun deck at Fort Niagara (Library of Congress)

Bradford Perkins, Prologue to War: England and the United States, 1805-1812 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961), pp. 90-92; Alan Taylor, The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010), p. 104; and Bickham, The Weight of Vengeance, pp. 32-33.

American forces in the Battle Of New Orleans (Library of Congress)

Jon Latimer, 1812: War with America (London & Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), p. 16; Donald Hickey, Don’t Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812 (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2006, p. 19; and Troy Bickham, The Weight of Vengeance: The United States, the British Empire, and the War of 1812 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 62. Bickham is an American-born historian who studied and taught in Great Britain before returning to the U.S.; he specialty is the Atlantic world, with emphasis on the British empire.

Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, p. 42.

Norman K. Risjord, “National Honor as the Unifying Force,” in Bradford Perkins, ed., The Causes of the War of 1812: National Honor or National Interest? (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962), p. 94.

Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, pp. 16-17.

Ibid., pp. 26-27; and John R. Grodzinski, “The Duke of Wellington, the Peninsular War and the War of 1812; Part I: North America and the Peninsular War – Logistics,” The War of 1812 Magazine, Issue 5 (December 2006), .

Cusiak, The Other War of 1812, pp. 191-92.

Nichols met weekly and supplied arms to Kim “Snake” Chang-ryong, a former Japanese military officer who served as Rhee’s right-hand man for anticommunist score-settling and vengeance. The “snake” was believed to have masterminded the execution of thousands of South Koreans, according to the findings of a later government inquiry. Nichols sat in on police torture sessions where the water torture method was employed and suspects were burned with lit cigarettes and wired to a wooden-cross and subjected to electroshocks. The capture and execution of senior communist leaders was often confirmed by cutting off their heads and sending them in gasoline cans to army headquarters in Seoul. A photo of Nichols shows him and several other army officers inspecting the heads; in another, the head of a guerrilla leader was being pulled out of its box by the hair.

Stagg, The War of 1812: Conflict for a Continent, pp. 156-57.

“James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, [9 March 1812],” National Archives, Founders Online, ; and Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, p. 308.

Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, p. 304.

Johnson, Jefferson, and Harper quoted in Julius W. Pratt, Expansionists of 1812 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1925), pp. 51-52, 153. Clay quoted in James Hannay, History of the War of 1812 (Toronto: Morang & Co., limited, 1905), pp. 27-28.

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