April 10, 2011
BOOK OF THE WEEK: WEEK FIFTEEN, 2011
Taylor, Alan, The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies (New York: Knopf, 2010) ("The War of 1812 looms small in American memory, forgotten as insignificant because it apparently ended as a draw that changed no boundary and no policy. At best, Americans barely recall the war for a handful of patriotic episodes . . . which obscures the war origins and primacy as an American invasion of Canada." Id. at 10. "Having failed to conquer Canada or compel British maritime concessions, The Republicans redefined national survival as victory. Monroe assured the Senate that 'our Union has gained strength, our troops honor, and the nation character, by the contest.' He concluded, 'By the war we have acquired a character and a rank among other nations, which we did not enjoy before.' . . . Id. at 420. "Although the Americans lost the northern war to conquer Canada, they won the western war to subdue Indian resistance. In 1813, at the battle of the Thames, they had killed Tecumseh, their most formidable Indian adversary and the chief proponent of native unity and resistance. On the southern frontier in 1814, Andrew Jackson had employed superior numbers to crush the Creeks, who lived in present-day Alabama. He had forced them to surrender more that 20 million acres of land--over half of their domain. Although the Treaty of Ghent committed the Americans to restore Indians to their prewar lands, the Creeks recovered nothing." Id. at 428.).