Friday, January 4, 2013

Aiming For The Conquest Of Canada?

The best clue to the understanding of the war of 1812 is to be found in the situation existing in the Ohio valley. That section of the country, aided by elements in the south, virtually brought on the war. It did so on account of a crisis which culminated, not in 1807 as did our maritime grievances against England, but
in 1811 and 1812, in the months which really matured the decision to appeal to arms. And in appealing to arms it had a perfectly clear and intelligible aim. That aim was nothing other than the conquest of Canada.

Henry Clay, speaker of the house, in the committee of the whole outlined a plan for the invasion of Canada and for the distribution of troops there. No wonder that John Randolph complained, "Ever since the report of the Committee on Foreign Relations came into the House, we have heard but one word, — like the Whippoorwill, but one monotonous tone, — Canada, Canada, Canada." 

It was not merely the dream of a greater republic, however, that stirred the inhabitants of the Ohio valley in the years preceding 1812. They had more practical and pressing matters to think of. The Indians were an ever-present menace which at any moment might set the whole frontier in a blaze, and back of the Indians the westerners saw the English in Canada. 

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