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Utopia-Politics > Utopia Politics > The Duel
I will be arguing on the side of the British.

Britain obviously had a victory in the War of 1812, but they were more focused on the affairs occuring in Europe and no longer wanted to continue the fight in North America.

The US was the ones who started it in the first place by attacking Canada. The British responded by coming down through Canada and attacking the northern US states. The American generals were very mediocre in that region and so Britain had no problem when it eventually seized control of New England.

The second area was the Chesapeake(sp?). Britain instead of conquering the capitol, burnt it down. America was forced to find a new capitol during the war. The only reason the British couldn't advance any further in the Chesapeake was because the Americans heavily fortified Baltimore, but the British were still able to completely blockad the US. The US couldn't get any form of assistance from the east or the north.

the only victory against the whole of the British tactics was because of the incompetence of the British general.

If the British had continued then America would've become british once again. The US had lost their industrial region, been isolated from their potential allies in France, and had their capitol forcably relocated. How can anyone claim America won when they were lucky that the British didn't want to keep their conquered American territory. The US barely escaped that war in the same shape that they had started in.
Sir Buckethead
Well, that was an altogether unimpressive first post.

First off, you begin by saying that the British left because they lost interest. At this time, Britain had already defeated Napolean and the only logical next step would be to bring the various upstart nations who had taken advantage of napolean's hooliganism to start getting to big for their international britches.

It is true that the US began the war with attacks on Canada, but such actions were incited by the British-supported indians. Now, whether or not these indians were guilty of anyhting doesnt matter, back then being indian (or "injun" in PC speak) was a jailable offense. So anyhoo, the various warhawks of the time took advantage of the English fighting with napolean to wage war with canada. More on this later.

And the chesapeake campaign was hardly a clear-cut English victory, though the burning of the capitol is the most-used reasoning for British victory. As you said, they could not take fort baltimore, even after bombarding it, and so they moved along and burned down the capital. Now if this warants victory I think it should be pointed out that the then-capital of canada, Toronto (I think it was york back then) was also burned down at the outset of the war. Tit for tat. Not a victory.

Lastly, you say that if the war had continued Britain would have won. Thats funny, because the war actually did continue, as you well know, the southern front was fought and won by america after the peace treaty was signed. Imagine Jackson marching north with his victorious army. He coulda invaded canada.

they could not take fort baltimore, even after bombarding it, and so they moved along and burned down the capital.

First of all their initial strike did not go Baltimore then Capitol it went Capitol then Baltimore. They may not have won the bombardment of Fort Baltimore, but they were still able to block off the entire eastern coast of the US. For the actual land, maybe that can be counted as a loss, but the victory was achieved by blocking off all the US ports.

Secondly, Canada if you will remember is still a British colony at this time and like the US during it's colonial days didn't have a capitol city. While Toronto may have been the most prominant city it didn't have quite as much importance to the Canadians as DC did for the Americans.

Lastly, if Jackson had marched north with his army he would've been met by a competent British general or two. As I stated earlier the guy that led in New Orleans was a moron and a disgrace to the British army. Britian has areas of their museums dedicated to his stupidity. Had anyone one else led a British army against Jackson, Old Hickory's men would've been cut down. If he had continued to march his men north by the time he reached New England his campaign would've been ended.
Sir Buckethead
Famder: Dang, this delayed post thing keeps getting in the way. My above post was directed at Retribution.

OK, you blame the failure at New Orleans on incompetent leadership.

But that's not the issue. I could also write off the failure of the Early American defense on the Northwestern Front to incompetence. Why the hell were those cities surrendered to inferior armies without a fight?

Like I said, though, that's not the issue. The issue is who "won" (quotes thanks to retribution) the war. If America won through English incompetence, so be it. Besides, Jackson proved himself an excellent General by defeating the Creek Alliance before he even met the British.

True, Toronto (York) was not as prominent as Washington. But it was the nearest equivalent. You could hardly expect the infant US to burn down London.

The blockade, far from a sign of victory, was a natural consequence of going to war with the worlds greatest Naval Power. Also, America entered the war partly because the English were sinking American ships that tried to trade outside of England. So the blockade, though an inconvenience, was not much of a change from prewar america.

But really, all of that isnt very important in the "big picture". THe most telling sign of American Victory was that every British invasion and triumph was short-lived. Both the Northern and the Southern indian alliances were utterly defeated, the Invasion of New England was eventually turned back, the admittedly costly battle of Godly Wood ended the British Potomac Campaign, and we both know all about the southern front, along the Great lakes and Canadian waterways, Perry and other american generals won several crucial battles, taking away Naval support for the redcoat invasion force and prematurely aborting a possibly disastrous invasion of the Northwest.

The two areas of the war that Britain did manage to keep hold of were the surrendered Northwestern Cities and the Blockade. Admittedly, the Americans did not hold nay of their Canadian conquests, but that was not their only goal in the war. More than anything else, they wanted to assert their power in the world.

They definitely did that.
Retribution: This duel is strictly between me and SB, we arranged this duel in the Duel Forum thread. Your points have been presented and will now continue to be ignored.

Why the hell were those cities surrendered to inferior armies without a fight?

It was partially due to the fact that by the time the Battle of New Orleans was concluded that the war was in effect over, all that had to be done was a ratification by the Senate.

The Creek Alliance doesn't account for anything, since most of the Indian tribes were simply attempting to regain the land from the white man during this conflict. The majority of the tribes were too weak from the American geneocide to mount much of a fight. That's why they opted to join on the side of the British.

You could hardly expect the infant US to burn down London

Why not? Just because it's younger doesn't mean that it should get special treatment from a historical perspective.

The disadvantage was not the US being unable to go out it was the inability for anything to come in. This eliminated any chance of aid from anywhere else.

Sure the US kept the Brits from advancing any farther into New England, but the territory they had captured remained theirs until the peace treaty was signed.

If their goal was to establish himself as a power then they failed, since they got their asses handed to them in most cases. They did however prove that they weren't the British whipping boy anymore.
Sir Buckethead
The cities I was referring to were the Northwestern US cities which a pair of bufoons in General's uniforms surrendered to tiny British Armies without a fight.
True, the creeks were weak and unmotivated, but I was using that as an example that the loss of the British at New Orleans was not due solely to British incompetence, as the surrender of detroit was, but also was because of superior American armaments and leadership. Jackson was one clever dude.

1:"Why not? Just because it's younger doesn't mean that it should get special treatment from a historical perspective."


2: The trade coming in was constricted by British-French rivalries before the war as well. America knew it could not establish itself Navy-wise, so it had to challenge Canada in order to strike back at the British. Once again, the blockade was not a sign of victory, it was a fully realized consequence which the war hawks were willing to live with. We fought it quite efectively with our tiny frigate navy and many privateers, but we knew they would eventually wear us down.

"Sure the US kept the Brits from advancing any farther into New England, but the territory they had captured remained theirs until the peace treaty was signed."

Not quite. In almost every case, the British victories were fleeting.

Battle of Lake Erie: forces all navally supported British troops to withdraw from the area, Detroit is abandoned back to the Americans.

Battle of the Thames: The indian confederacy under tecumseh, an incredible achievement, falls apart.

Battle of Godly wood: The british regulars, fresh from their retaliatory burning of the Capitol, are defeated by american militia and the chesapeake campaign ends.

Battle of Lake Champlain: An inland Navy, freshly built, destroys a British inland fleet. The British retreat from Plattsburgh and fall back to Canada.

And of course: The battle of New Orleans: Andrew jackson soundly routs a superior army of British veterans. This, combined with his defeat of the Creek Alliance, turns Jackson into the singlehanded defeater of every threat to the american south.

In each case, a significant British victory, invasion, or achievement was turned sour by american counterattacks. Britains holdings in New England were miniscule by the end of th war, indeed, the only substantial gains by either side were the defeat of the Indian Nations, which was (hey, this is a coincidence!) in America's favor. I'll admit that on several occasions, the British wasted the Americans, usually due to British skill in the face of American inexperience. Perhaps this is why the Americans scored so many victories towards the end: They were learning.

Anyway, thats just a thought. Back on track here: Lets say you graphed the war out from the british perspective, it would look like a Mountain, starting low, rising with several later victories and three momentarily successful invasions, and then dropping off at the end as each invasion was in turn checked. From the american side, it would waver at first, with the mixed success in our canadian invasion, then gain a little strength with the victories on the great lakes, then plummet as the British defeated France and turned their whole attentions to us, then rise quickly again at the end as we defeated the invasions, Secured the Great Lakes and the Northwest, and destroyed the Indian alliances.

In short, america wore down the british over time. Even shorter: we won.

Oh, lastly, you claim that if Jackson had marched north (the only logical place to go since the British had fled everywhere else) he would have met competent British leadership. Maybe so, but it would not have been competent enough to withstand his addition. First of all, the New England invasion force was already reeling from losses spreading out from the great lakes and the south. You have to remember that as each other invasion was turned back, it freed up more troops to combat them. Jackson's 4500 Kentucky woodsmen and sharpshooters would have cut through the British like, well, like some sort of sharp implement through some sort of soft cooking spread.

(Battles from

other info from book, American History till Civil War. (not exact name)
First of all your own source even says that the Jackson battle was of little significance in the war.

Secondly didn't we establish that the Indian battles weren't to be counted for either side. The war against the Indians started about a year before the one against the British. It was a completely seperate war despite the choosing of sides. It should be factored in no more than the Napoleonic War is, since it is also going on throughout the war.

I'll concede that the British got their asses kicked in the Battle of Erie and Lake Champlain.

And you have yet to provide a battle that shows that most of the claims Britain gained in New England were forced out. If it weren't for the Treaty of Ghent a good sized portion of New England would be British again.

Sir Buckethead
The Battle of New Orleans is FAR from insignificant, and I dont care what my source says to the contrary. Despite the fact that it had no real bearing on the treaty of Ghent, the battle proved the fact that America could compete technologically and militarily with the british. It also further established american morale, and sent a message to europe that the war might not have been the stalemate it had seemed. If the aim of the War Hawks was to establish America as a power (and it was) then the battle of New Orleans was the best ending they could hope for.

The indian battles were very important. The entire aim of the british offense into New England was to establish an indian nation as a buffer zone. This was the deal hammered out between Isaac Brock (some canadian guy) and tecumseh.
The indian nations fought alongside the British troops in nearly all of the early battles, and when the Americans shattered their alliance and destroyed the agreement with Britain, it severely hurt British power in the region. The Northern tribes were largely considered the best light infantry in the world. In this way, the Indian battles not only secured more land for the Americans, but it thwarted the plans of the British.

"And you have yet to provide a battle that shows that most of the claims Britain gained in New England were forced out. If it weren't for the Treaty of Ghent a good sized portion of New England would be British again."

Um, I dont see any sustained British invasion. I was under the impression that the american representatives at the treaty of Ghent were able to organize the return to pre-war boundaries because the three northern british invasions had been turned back. The British still wanted to seize some territory along the border that they could give to their Indian allies, so they mounted three consecutive invasions, all turned back.

Northwest: At the battle of Moraviantown, America completes its reclamation of the lands west of the Ontario. The british are broken quickly by the US charge, and their losses are slight, but the real news here is the death of tecumseh, killed in hand to hand combat with Kentucky irregulars. His death shatters the First Nation peoples (only 300 return to support the british after the battle) and opened up massive tracts of land for colonization. As I said, this is technically th eonly land that changes hands during the war of 1812.

Central: The battle of Sacketts harbor, in conjunction with the other Great Lakes conflicts we've already been over, further reinforces the no loss no gain aspect of the North-Central war.

Northeast: After dithering for months, the brits finally launch an attack into the Northeastern United States. When their naval support is destroyed in The Battle of Plattsburgh Bay, they withdraw back into Canada. News of this arrives to the negotiators in Ghent. This is precisely what the americans were waiting for, now no substantial land has been conquered by either side, and it is easy to hammer out a toothless return to the pre-war state that caused the war in the first place. Except in the Post-War political Arena, America has established itself, if not as an equal, then as a force to be reckoned with.

Unless there is another invasion I've missed, neither the British nor the Americans had any conquered land with which to bargain. If the Treaty Process had started a little earlier, the British could have easily negotiated some surrendered territory, if it had started later, the Americans could have.
Alright, since this seems to be a circular debate we need to establish a form of a comprimise.

America had two primary goals during this war. One was to establish itself as a power in the eyes of Britain. The second was to "liberate" Canada and make it part of the US.

Britain had two primary goals as well. One was to detour any further assualts on their Canadian colonies. Second was to crush America to the ground through an invasion of the US.

Each side accomplished the former of their two goals. Britain repelled the American invasion of Canada both times and ensured Canada's safety. America proved to the British that it could contend with their might.

Each side also failed in achieving their second goal. America never had a truly successful invasion of Canada since the claims they gained were miniscule. Britain launched their land invasions on three sides and were turned back on two of the three sides.

I guess the only comprimise on this issue is to say both were victorious in accomplishing their primary goals. Both sides however failed at their attempts at conquest of the other's lands.
Sir Buckethead
Alright you half-canadian loser.

But what if I can still salvage a victory?

Before the war, the british were in an old boys club with France, Germany, and a couple currently declining former powers like Spain and Holland.

After, you've got the rising star, america, rising to challenge and eventualy replace Europe. The turning point? the war of 1812. Without that there's no Monroe Doctrine, the US goes into submission on the high seas, and loses every ounce of political power it once had.

You lose England.
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