Editor says, what if the War of 1812 had been avoided? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
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Entry posted by Todayinah Editor © Alternate Historian, 2004-.
Article reviewed by Mike Stone, Scott Palter, Steven Fisher, Allen W. McDonnell, Eric Lipps, Mike McIlvain, Sailorbarsoom, Stan Brin, Tom Bornholdt, Alternate Historian.
Story Tags Permalinks: Post, Day. Browse Thread: American Heroes Source: Wikipedia Labels: Spencer Perceval, Charles C. Pinckney, Impressment, Ship Seizures, 1812.
Editor says, this article is re-purposed from a post by Turquoise Blue on Alternate History:
It is widely accepted, that if John Bellingham had been successful in his attempted assassination of Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1812, and the Democratic-Republican Party kept united in 1808, and led Madison to victory, there would have been another Anglo-American War, as tensions between the British and the Americans had been increasing for a while before that. Impressment would have provided the last spark needed for war. Thankfully, as we all know, Spencer Perceval and C.C. Pinckney held cool heads, and arranged an negotiation, which later became known as the Treaty of Trois-Riveries, that ended impressment and paved the way for better Anglo-American relations. This negotiation could have ended in disaster had it continued beyond March 4, 1813. The American side knew that if Madison took office, and they were not finished, he would try his best to trigger another Anglo-American war. So, the American side retorted to compromise and agreement, and by July 22, 1812, the treaty was made, and it was signed that very day, into legal existence. This was 200 years ago, and now we know that all Anglo-American co-operation ultimately derives itself from the Treaty of Trois-Riveries.
Sailorbarsoom commented on 2012-12-30 16:22:10 ~ We wouldn't have Johnny Horton's song "The Battle of New Orleans." But favorable Anglo-American relations earlier on might be worth the loss.
Eric Lipps commented on 2012-12-30 18:06:43 ~ I suspect that dooner or later there would have been another Anglo-American war regardless. Too many among Britain's ruling elite had never really accepted American indepedence as legitimate and felt entitled to push the fledgling U.S. around wherever an opportunity to do so emerged.
Allen W. McDonnell commented on 2012-12-30 22:32:30 ~ I agree with Eric Lipps, though the blind arrogant belief that both sides had was much of the problem, the Americans certainly had a number of unrealistic hotheads in their ranks as well. A number of influential people wanted the war because they felt Ontario aka Upper Canada should have been US Territory, not the UK's after the Revolutionary War.
The biggest change I see is without the heroic reputation from New Orleans Andrew Jackson is going to have a much tougher time getting accepted as a major political candidate.
Mike McIlvain commented on 2012-12-31 06:47:51 ~ One can only hope that Johnny Horton's short-lived creative life would have found other catchy historical instances to write about. And, I suspect that Col. Andy Jackson would have found other fame-making wars, or instances -- which still could have been against England a that time. Royal Navy traits of the time could have sparked trouble most anywhere. The Hawaiian Islands could have been one of several possible keg lighters.
Stan Brin commented on 2012-12-31 08:05:19 ~ Allen McDonnell is entirely off-base, a victim of Canadian nationalist myth and propaganda. The ONLY casus belli in 1812 was impressment of American sailors by the Royal Navy, an appallingly stupid policy. Can-Nats don't like to talk about it, but there was considerable pro-American sentiment within Upper Canada. Several US units were formed during the war among American emigrants in Upper Canada, mainly of Scots-Irish ancestry, many originating in Virginia (the source of Canada's distinctively Northern Virginia "eh-oo" dipthong). The British solved that problem after the war through the use of mass hangings, the most gruesome at Chatham. (I can't wait to see the CBC drama on THAT nasty event -- in a pig's ear!)
Sailorbarsoom commented on 2012-12-31 15:36:24 ~ "In 1818 we took a little trip,
Along with Cap'n Biddle 'cross the mighty Pacific..."
Tom Bornholdt commented on 2012-12-31 16:38:59 ~ Tecumseh is still alive and would cause trouble.
Allen W. McDonnell commented on 2012-12-31 18:58:04 ~ I must disagree with Stan Brin, his view is entirely too simplistic to reflect reality. No war is ever a simple affair of one stress point causing conflict. Having grown up 15 miles from one of the battlefields of the War and having been steeped in the local traditions going with it I can tell you I studied up on the war out of curiosity when I was young. There was a great deal of fear in the Northwest Territories, especially in Ohio and Michigan, that the UK was cheating on the terms of the treaty of Paris. There was a lot of encouragement for Tecumseh and his brother Prophet by UK persons in Upper Canada. Around southern Michigan and Northern Ohio the preferred solution was to incorporate Upper Canada, the territory from the Ottawa River west to Lake Huron, into the USA. The majority of the settlers there had come from the USA after the Revolutionary war, some were settled by the Crown after they withdrew from New York. First they were relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but the colony could not absorb so many at once and the Loyalist farmers were encouraged to move west of the Ottawa river in what was then native American territory with little European settlement. Once the territory was open for settlement many Americans moved into the area because land grants were being freely given by the Crown.
Impressment was a big deal on the eastern sea board where most of the impressed came from, especially the mid Atlantic states, but New England was solidly opposed to the war and a number of Boston sailors were among those impressed by the Royal Navy. The US Navy was no match for the Royal Navy and Napoleon's navy had never done much to scare anyone so the cooler heads favored a negotiated end to Impressment. The bigger issue from the merchants point of view were the cargo's and ships that were seized as often as sailors were impressed, the way the Royal Navy went about things was only a half step away from Piracy, but again the US Navy was too weak to do anything effective.
So you have multiple causes, Encouraging the Native Americans to fight American settlers, desire to expand Canada into what became Michigan and Wisconsin, Impressment of Sailors and seizure of cargo's and ships on the one side, desire to seize Upper Canada for the USA, fear of the UK expansion around the Great Lakes, national humiliation and damaged pride from Impressment and the belief, realistic or not that the Lower Canadian French would eagerly join a war to boot the UK out of Quebec.
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