Our latest debate on the War of 1812 is sparking a lot of discussion! On Friday November 9, the Ottawa Citizen published a letter by Ed Whitcomb on how the War of 1812 did not end in a draw. On Monday, November 12, Mike Kirby followed up with his own letter in response to Whitcomb. And that’s not all. The debate is also being talked about in the U.S. too!
To find out more about MLI’s Great Canadian Debates, click here.
To read the opening statements from our debaters, click here.
To watch the debate courtesy of CPAC, click here.
To view photos, click here.
By Ed Whitcomb, Ottawa Citizen, November 9, 2012
Jeffrey Simpson’s argument that the War of 1812 has been overhyped seems to rest to a considerable extent on what I believe is a mistake in his analysis. He states that the war ended “in a draw.”
It did not. The war was an attempt by the United States to conquer Upper and Lower Canada, and it ended in failure, not a draw. For Britain and its Canadian militia and Indian allies, it was a war to avoid that conquest, and it ended in victory, not a draw.
When one country tries to conquer another, or the possessions of another, and fails, that is defeat, not a draw. Had both sides been trying to conquer the other, and both failed, then that would have been a draw, but Britain was not trying to conquer the United States.
Had the United States won, Upper and Lower Canada would be states of the U.S. (like Texas, conquered from Mexico), and there would be no Dominion of Canada. That makes the victory in the War of 1812 an absolutely crucial event leading to the existence of the present-day Canada. That is some-thing all Canadians should know, and the government’s campaign seems to be achieving that, in spite of its distortions and exaggerations. And knowing that we won and that the battle was crucial to our development as a nation is what matters.
Ed Whitcomb, Ottawa