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July 23, 2011 / sharoncopy

Another try to annex Canada

I learned the American version about the War of 1812, which basically revolved around the British impressing our sailors at sea, Britain’s interfering with our trade with France whom they were still fighting, and Britain’s help of the natiive Americans, which interfered with Americans moving westward. We declared war on them. We are told that if there had been telegraph or telephone it probably wouldn’t have even happened. We had a series of bloody battles here and there and they burned down the White House and and so forth, and eventually we all got tired of the bloodshed and settled and everyone went back to their original boundaries. By then the Brits weren’t fighting France anymore so the whole trade thing was a moot point.

Well, it sounds different when you visit Ft. George in Ontario and get the Canadian side of the story. There we discovered the truth (yes, the truth) that Jefferson thought it would be very easy to go into the British colony called Canada and just take over a bunch of it. In fact, there were a lot of people in Congress who really thought that the Canadians would be glad to be a part of the much superior USA instead of staying loyal to the crown. So the idea was to fight the Brits by invading across the Detroit and Niagara Rivers and they didn’t expect to meet with a lot of resistance.

Well, that was pretty ignorant thinking. The residents of Ontario fought like anyone would who was being invaded. Remember from my last post, this area was settled by people who wanted no part of the American Revolution back in the 1770’s, and in the early 1800’s and they still wanted no part of it, thank you. And how dare these Americans think that they could just come over and conquer! They repelled the advances, and after a couple of years of it, caused the Americans to stop trying. The boundaries were the same after all was done and people were killed.

 Here was a further infraction that made Canadians hate the USA for what they did. Here they were, minding their own business and boom – there went cannonballs from the east side of the Niagara to the west. To this day, there is a 182 foot tall statue of British General Isaac Brock on the west side of the Niagara facing the USA, as if to say, “Don’t even try it!”

“Madison and his advisors believed that conquest of Canada would be easy and that economic coercion would force the British to come to terms by cutting off the food supply for their West Indies colonies. Furthermore, possession of Canada would be a valuable bargaining chip. Frontiersmen demanded the seizure of Canada not because they wanted the land (they had plenty), but because the British were thought to be arming the Indians and thereby blocking settlement of the west.  Horsman concludes, “The idea of conquering Canada had been present since at least 1807 as a means of forcing England to change her policy at sea. The conquest of Canada was primarily a means of waging war, not a reason for starting it.” Hickey flatly states, “The desire to annex Canada did not bring on the war.” Brown (1964) concludes, “The purpose of the Canadian expedition was to serve negotiation not to annex Canada  Burt, a leading Canadian scholar, agrees completely, noting that Foster, the British minister to Washington, also rejected the argument that annexation of Canada was a war goal

In any case, it should be easy to see why negative feelings towards the USA were a part of the Canadian fabric from the beginning, and for some people, still are.


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