Friday, October 22, 2010

On Canada's resistance: US invasion of 1812

From the New York Review of Books:

Gordon S. Wood: Americans, says Taylor, tend to think of the war as a 'defensive triumph against British aggression.' But this perspective 'obscures the war's origins and primacy as an American invasion of Canada.'

Indeed, Taylor suggests that the Canadians have much more reason to celebrate the war than Americans do. In resisting the US invasion, theirs was a victory of 'a David over the American Goliath.' Americans remember the British burning of Washington, D.C., in 1814, but forget that the American invaders had burned the public buildings of Upper Canada's capital, York (present-day Toronto), the previous year.

The Canadians 'remember what Americans forget' -- that with a population that was just a tiny fraction of that of the United States, they repelled the American invaders and in the process created 'their own patriotic icons, particularly the martyr Issac Brock and the plucky Laura Secord, their equivalent of Paul Revere.'
Image source here.