War of 1812

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The War of 1812 was a war between Britain and the United States fought primarily in Upper Canada. It had many causes, few which involved British North America. The results of the war include the fact that there was no clear winner or loser among them. The only real losers in the situation were the Natives in the region. They were driven out of their lands and customs. None of the borders was changed by the war, though many attempts were made. The Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war, did nothing to advance the state of the countries. It went so far as to end the war and put things back the way that they were, but the main causes of the conflict were not addressed or dealt with. In order to evaluate the significance of this war, Canadian victories and losses, as well as overall results, must be analyzed.

Most Canadian victories came in the form of preventing American attack from being successful. This is the main Canadian reason for believing they won this war. An example of this occurred on 12 July 1812, when General Hull and his troops crossed into Canada. Their invasion was promptly met and turned away by opposing forces. This also happened in the Battle of Raisin River on 21 January 1813. American General Winchester surrendered to British Colonel Proctor, losing 500 prisoners. Perhaps the most significant of Canadian victories was the burning of Washington. When the British forces won the battle of Bladensburg, it "opened the door to Washington". The Capitol Building and the White House were destroyed but luckily, for the Americans, torrential rains put out fires in the rest of the city. To the Canadians from 1812-1814, this was reason enough to believe that they were victorious. To Canadians now it seems a shallow way to claim triumph.

Notable role models were born out of this war for Canadians. Sir Isaac Brock was a prominent figure. He was "Commander of Forces in Upper Canada" and later added Administrator to his title. Being engulfed by politics proved too much for Brock, who left to join forces in the march upon Detroit (August 1812). He led troops to victory here, but lost his life in the Battle of Queenston Heights in October 1812. To this day, Brock is well renowned throughout Canada as a fearless leader and important to the history of the country. Another hero rising from the conflict was Swanee Chief Tecumseh. Along with his brother Lolawauchika, the Prophet, Tecumseh was "the (man) responsible for the growing threat on the western frontier" He was steadfast in his beliefs that Natives should never be forced to give up any of their customs or their heritage. He was valiant in protecting his people and led them courageously in battle; even though he did not have to engage in the fighting himself, he joined his troops. He was killed in the Battle of Moravian town on 5 October 1813. After his death, survivors retreated and later signed a cease-fire with the Americans. Another highly regarded individual as a result is Laura Secord. When she overheard American soldiers, she rushed to tell someone in charge of the British force. On the way, she came across Natives who blocked the oncoming troops. Because of her dangerous trek, the Americans were turned away at Beaver Dam.

With the American offences being stopped, and heroic men coming forth, Canadian nationalism was on the rise. Since most of the war had been fought in Upper Canada, retaining of the vast majority was as much a moral victory as a material one. The end of the war brought significant immigration from the United States into Upper and Lower Canada. Canadians resented this because they still regarded Americans as the enemy. Being banded together in the War of 1812 forced the people of the Canadas to feel as though they were a unified nation. The English-speaking Canadians could better understand the French-speaking Canadians and vice versa. They had no trust for the Americans who were arriving at...
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