My twenty-one year old son, Gabriel, has just graduated from University of Ottawa with a degree in political science and history. Gabe has offered to be my guest blogger this week.
This year marks the two hundredth anniversary of the war of 1812, a war fought between the United States and Britain. The Americans declared war on Britain for multiple reasons. One reason was a threat to Americans with respect to their trade with France. In1807, the British introduced a series of trade restrictions that impeded American trade with France, with whom Britain was at war (Napoleonic wars). Another cause was British support for first nation raids. During the early 1800’s the U.S. wanted to expand into the west, and in order to do so they had to take land that was settled by first nations. In order to prevent American expansion Britain supported the first nations, which angered the Americans. One final cause was American expansionism. The Americans felt that since the British were occupied with the French in the Napoleonic wars, it might be a perfect time to attack British North America, and take as much territory as possible. It is clear that the Americans had reasons to attack British North America, and they declared war on June 2nd, 1812.
The war of 1812 began on June 2nd, 1812 and ended on December 24, 1814 with the Treaty of Ghent. The war was fought in three main theatres. It was mainly fought on the frontier (the Canada-U.S. border), especially in areas such as the Niagara region.The war was also fought in the U.S., in battles such as the Battle of New Orleans and the
 Robert O’Neil and Carl Benn, The War of 1812: The Fight for American Trade Rights, (New York, 2011), 10
 John Armstrong, Notices of the War of 1812, (New York,, 1836), 11
 Julius Pratt, Expansions of 1812, (New York, 1925), 5
 Miriam Greenblat, War of 1812, (New York, 2003), 60
 Ibid. 80
Battle of Baltimore. It was also fought at sea, on the St. Lawrence, the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.At the beginning of the war the British, with Canadian help defended BNA. The British successfully held off the Americans in the Great lakes, with key victories such as the Battle of Queenston Heights in the Niagara region. It was clear at the beginning of the war that the British, with the help of the Canadian Militia, were winning. For the Americans, the key victory was the Battle of Lake Erie, which let them gain total access to the Lake. It is important to note that there were many small battles fought during the war of 1812, and that it carried on until 1814, when both sides decided to sign an armistice, the Treaty of Ghent. While different historians have different opinions as to who really “won the war”, lately the majority of authorities have argued that Britain was the winner.
 David Heidler, Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, (New York, 1997), 409
 John Armstrong, Notices of the War of 1812, (New York,, 1836), 6
 The Battle of Queenston Hights, (http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_queenston_heights.html)
 David Heidler, Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, (New York, 1997), 7
The war of 1812 was of great importance to the emerging nation of Canada. The main significance was the fact that even before Canada became a country, they were able to band together with the British to help defend what would become the great nation we live in today. The outcomes of the war also led to the militia myth, which was that Canadians believed that their militia played an important part in defeating the Americans. The militia myth, as the name implies, was by in large false, but nonetheless fostered a new sense of Canadian nationalism. Canadians felt that since they had a strong militia they might be able to become their own nation. Of course, the birth of Canada as a nation happened on July 1, fifty-three years after the war of 1812 ended. Arguably, had the war ended differently, and if they did not defeat the Americans, this great country, which we all cherish, might have never been created.
In a few weeks, there will be a giant re-enactment of the war of 1812 on parliament hill. If you have any thoughts about this topic, please respond to the blog, or better yet…please stop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.