The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflictby Donald R. Hickey
Pub. Date: 10/28/1990
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
This first comprehensive history of the War of 1812 since Henry Adam's work of a century ago is a myth-shattering study that will inform and entertain students, historians, and general readers. Donald R. Hickey explores the military, diplomatic, and domestic history of our second war with Great Britain.
- University of Illinois Press
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)
Table of Contents
|A Note on Sources||317||(6)|
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The War of 1812 by Donald Hickey is an worthy rendering of this little remembered conflict. It seems that to many Americans any events before the Civil War is lost in the mists of history. While the Revolution attracts some attention, the War of 1812 is remembered for little more than Old Ironsides and the Battle of New Orleans. Prof. Hickey covers all aspects of this conflict, at least from the American side. He begins with the disputes which led to the conflict. The divisions within the United States, both geographical and political, are well explained. The war created a division between commercial, Federalist New England and the agricultural, Democratic-Republican south and west. The hardships of the war provided a boost for the declining Federalist Party, but with the return of peace, its decline toward oblivion resumed at a rapid pace. The economic interests of the various sections are well treated. The war was occasioned by a coalition of interests which combined to overcome the significant opposition. This was, in fact, probably America¿s most unpopular War, Vietnam notwithstanding. The British impressment of seamen, American lust for Canada and resentment resulting from British incitement of Indians, combined to put together a political majority for war. Some of the maritime issues had led to a series of economic responses over several years prior to the commencement of hostilities. The initial efforts to resolve the issues were a series of shifting and conflicting economic measures, including boycotts and trade restrictions which began before and continued during the war. At the beginning of the war there was a difference of opinion as to whether the war should be fought only at sea or whether a land campaign was also to be prosecuted. In the end an American naval and privateer offensive at sea was combined with land and lake campaigns. The American naval victory on Lake Erie provided a major advantage. The land campaigns against Canada preceded on several fronts. Fighting occurred in the Michiagn-Western Ontario area, with the Americans making relatively minor gains. Along the Niagara front, little progress was made by either side. The American assaults on Lower Canada (Quebec) were unsuccessful. With the conclusion of the Neapolianic Wars, Britain took the offensive as troops and ships were transferred from Europe. The British did make significant territorial gains in northern and eastern Maine. The gains in Maine could have been important in establishing a land route between Montreal and Halifax. The British had some transient success with its Chesapeake campaign, highlighted by the burning of Washington, although the assault on Baltimore was unsuccessful. The last British offensive of the war, along the Gulf of Mexico, ended in disaster at the celebrated Battle of New Orleans. The portrait of President Madison as a relatively weak, unsuccessful wartime leader is skillfully painted. As is the case with other some American leaders, Madison appears to be one whose greatest days occurred before he achieved the office for which he is best remembered. Madison¿s role in the drafting and adoption of the Constitution provided major contributions to his country, while his service as Chief Executive was one of the more lackluster performances in that office. America¿s greatest success in the war occurred, not in the field, but at the peace conference. This is the exception to Will Rogers¿ statement that America has never lost a war or won a conference. Despite representing a government with a smoldering capitol and much of Maine in enemy hands, the negotiators emerged with a return to the prewar borders and a settlement of the maritime issues which had led to the war. After reading this book, one is left with the conclusion that the War of 1812 was probably an unprofitable war for the U.S. At its end the borders were unchanged and the maritime issues which were resolved would pr
I find this book hard to put down... INTERESTING FACTS! The financial problems that plagued the US during this war, astounding... The details are amazing... I just wish he had went into the naval battles more.