OT: War of 1812

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri May 28 02:19:10 UTC 2010

At 6:29 PM -0700 5/27/10, Dave Wilton wrote:
>The War of 1812 was essentially a stalemate. Neither side won or lost
>(except the Native Americans, who lost, as usual). The war was essentially
>fought by mistake, considered a nuisance by Britain which was preoccupied
>with Napoleon, and politically divisive in the US.
>No territory changed hands as a result of the war. Both sides successfully
>repelled invaders. The Canadians repulsed the American invasion, but the
>Americans did manage to burn York (Toronto). The Americans, in turn, turned
>back the Canadian counter-invasion at the Battle of Plattsburgh. The British
>invasion of the Chesapeake region managed to sack Washington, avenging York,
>but was defeated when it tried to take Baltimore (Ft. McHenry and the
>Star-Spangled Banner). And the British invasion of the Gulf coast met with
>defeat at New Orleans (yes, after the peace treaty had been signed, but it
>was a major defeat for the British nonetheless).
>The longest and probably most important legacy of the war was the settling
>of US-Canadian border disputes. It's hard to underestimate the long-term
>political importance of the defined and peaceful border over the last two
And after all that, there was still "54 40' or fight" to work
through.  If that had worked out differently (instead of with neither
54 40' nor a fight), the U.S. hockey team would have had home ice
advantage at the Vancouver Olympics.   On the other hand, if the
British invasion of the Gulf coast had succeeded, they'd be calling
the BP explosion "Cameron's Iraq" instead of "Obama's Katrina".  Ah,
alternate history!


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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