The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 has garnered significant political attention, millions of dollars in government funding, and considerable press attention. Many have chosen to adopt the official line of the conflict as one of forging a nation – Canada’s first ‘national’ war if you will. This is an oversimplification and only true insofar as a group of British forces and British North American inhabitants won the temporary (but not indefinitely secured) right not to be American.
Canadianmilitaryhistory.ca is committed to an empirical study of the War of 1812. Terry Copp opened our recent Battlefield Guide on the First World War by insisting that several approaches to that particular war “have served to promote literary, political, and cultural agendas of such power that empirical studies of actual wartime events have had little impact…” We believe that the War of 1812 and its legacy deserves the same rigorous scrutiny. What you will find on our site is a more nuanced discussion and much more than a sound bite supporting the War of 1812 as a nation-building exercise. On the 200th Anniversary of the declaration of war, canadianmilitaryhistory.ca has officially launched our ‘1812’ tab with Terry Copp’s excellent introduction to understanding the War of 1812 and how it started, a section on how YOU can be a part of our 1812 Guidebook, and a link to TIME magazine’s recent article on the war.
Matt Symes is the Online Editor of canadianmilitaryhistory.ca. If you have any questions, comments, or want to contribute please feel free to contact us at [email protected]