Tuesday, May 29, 2012

War of 1812 Maps and Educational Resources from the Canadian Perspective

The memory of the War of 1812 is different depending on the national group asked.  Here is my rule of thumb
  • British:  An annoying sideshow of the greater 20-some year war against the French Monarchy/Republic/Empire.
  • American:  A mystery war in which the British burned Washington, DC but we beat the British for a second time by winning at New Orleans.
  • Canadian:  A war which saw the birth of Canadian nationhood due to the joint efforts of French and English-speaking Canadians who turned back the second, but not last, invasion by the United States. 
While the United States has some renewed interest in the war because of the 200th anniversary, most Americans interested in history have their attention turned towards the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861-1865).  Canadians, meanwhile, are going all out over the War of 1812.

The Dominion Historic Institute, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and Parks Canada are co-hosting the War of 1812 website.  The website features maps, learning resources, articles, and even a trivia game.

I recommend two books on the War of 1812 which do a great job showing the war's different perspectives.  1812: War the Forged a Nation (primarily American Perspective) and 1812: War with America (primarily a British and then Canadian perspective).  I am also doing family research since various branches of my family where in New England and Canada at the time.  So far it seems my family branches shared the point-of-view of many at the time that the war was bad for business and therefore stayed out of it.

3 comments:

Chistopher said...

You forgot how Canadians will often claim that "we" burned down the White House, a claim that drives a (US born) professor crazy.

Catholicgauze said...

Chistopher,

Interesting. The 1812 book from the British perspective talks about how Canadians like to claim responsibility for British actions.

Peggy said...

worksheThe Canadian government is putting a lot of money behind this anniversary to establish it as an event of significance; and, thus, raising its status in history and the collective memory-much like was done with Vimy Ridge as the seminal event that established a sense of nationhood. One can only surmise of the rationale behind it. To Canadians it is viewed as an 'Ontario' event.