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Overview of the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars and their effects on Early Canada

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Natalie Krause

on 6 May 2015

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Transcript of Overview of the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars and their effects on Early Canada

The War of 1812
and the Napoleonic Wars
After the long, bloody, tumultuous revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte(born 1769, died 1821) came to power. He fought many wars across Europe, conquering Spain, Italy, Egypt, and much more.
Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte
The Hundred Days Campaign
The French revolution began in 1789 when the country was on the brink of bankruptcy from its participation in the American Revolution. The people of France were unhappy with King Louis XVI's extravagant spendings and the heavy taxes he imposed on them. The newly independent USA's Enlightenment ideas had invigorated the people, and they rose up against the absolute monarchy and feudal system that had imprisoned them for so long.
The French Revolution
The Napoleonic Wars
Tensions between Britain and USA rise
The Outbreak of the War of 1812
How the Napoleonic Wars affected it (the War of 1812)
Major Battles and Key Players
Resolution of the War of 1812
Resolution of the Napoleonic Wars
Relationships between Britain, France, the USA, and early Canada
How the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars affected Early Canada
In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, when the French ordered a trading blockade, one of the only countries Britain could still trade with was the USA. In an attempt to salvage one of their last trading options, Britain blocked the USA from trading with France. Also, in order to gain more men in their Navy, Britain impressed(seized) American sailors, forcing them to become part of the Navy.
These wars occurred during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, and were named after him and the wars he fought against Spain, Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and others. During these wars, Napoleon started the campaign that ultimately ended his reign.
When he was at war with Prussia, Austria, Russia and Britain, Napoleon led a poorly fated expedition into Russia, resulting in the loss of an estimated 500,000 of his 600,000 men as the Russians retreated and left Napoleon's troops to suffer the freezing winter without supplies. When Napoleon finally ordered a retreat, the Russians harassed them from behind during their withdrawl.
After this defeat, Napoleon's armies were driven from the Iberian Peninsula in the Peninsular War, and were then defeated by a coalition of France's enemies. This drove Napoleon and his armies back to France, where he was then captured and exiled to the island of Elba.
Napoleon escaped from his exile on Elba in early 1815 and began his 100 Days campaign, where he invaded Belgium and defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny, only to be annihilated at the Battle of Waterloo by the British. He was then captured once again and exiled a second time on the tiny, isolated island of St. Helena, where he died at age 51, most likely of stomach cancer.
Because of the harsh conditions of the British Navy, the army suffered many deserters who took refuge on American vessels. Britain would then conduct searches of the vessels for contraband items as well as their own deserters. At the same time, the impressment of American sailors would occur.
The USA was becoming frustrated by the impressments. While the British were focused on the Napoleonic Wars, the USA President James Madison declared war on Canada, at the time British North America. This was done in order to gain land and resources to fight back against the British, and to take out lingering resentment from the American Revolution on the British.
General William Hull led an attack on British North America, and thinking that the people would embrace the USA's supposedly friendly invasion, he marched in and prepared to claim the territory. However, they were not expecting the resistance that the settlers were to present.

After a series of skirmishes, Hull realized that his former assumption was incorrect when General Isaac Brock, after several battles on the border, took over Detroit with the help of Chief Tecumseh. To frighten Hull, Tecumseh ran his men through a clearing in view of Fort Detroit several times, giving the appearance he had more men than he really did. Hull then surrendered Fort Detroit to Brock and Tecumseh, despite having a much larger force.
The Napoleonic Wars affected the War of 1812 starting with the British trade blockage that caused the ignition of the wrath of the Americans, and essentially caused them to begin the war. The depletion of British soldiers due to the war with France resulted in lack of support for BNA, which may have caused the war to fall more in favor of the USA than it would have otherwise.

Alongside this, the Napoleonic Wars helped end the War of 1812 due to the Russian Czar, who was the creator of the Treaty of Ghent. He proposed the Treaty because he needed resources to supply for the ongoing effort in the Napoleonic Wars, which he couldn't acquire if the USA and Britain continued fighting. The Czar needed supplies from both sides, which he could not get unless the war ended.
Some of the Key Players were
General Isaac Brock
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Procter
General William Hull (USA)
Chief Tecumseh
General Robert Ross

Major Battles included:
Battle of Beaver Dams
Battle of Fort Detroit
Battle/Capture of York
Battle of the Thames
The War of 1812 was finally resolved when Russian Czar Alexsandr proposed the Treaty of Ghent a second time, with the hope that when the countries signed the peace would restore Russia's access to much needed supplies for the Napoleonic Wars. The conditions offered British North America and the USA the chance to retract all previous land conquests, and in essence restore the borders to what they originally were. Both sides agreed, due to the fact that the war was quickly sapping valuable resources and money from the USA.
After Napoleons Hundred Days Campaign and the failed Russian invasion that decimated his troops, he tried one last time to salvage his Empire at the battle of Waterloo, in which his troops suffered a crushing defeat. He was captured and exiled once again, this time to the Island of Saint Helena. Napoleon's armies, now leaderless, fell into disarray and the French Empire that he had created was disolved and returned to its previous owners, with slight alterations.
The war between Britain and its allies against France caused the USA to feel tension towards Britain because of the blockage of trade.
Since Britain was weakened because of its involvement in the Napoleonic Wars, it left early Canada more or less defenseless against America.
Because of this weakness, the USA took advantage and used the opportunity to expand their territory, by declaring war on the BNA.
The War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars affected what was later to be Canada by
Creating a sense of unity between the people of British North America against a common enemy
A feeling of independence was instilled among the people of BNA, as they had to defend themselves without much help from their founders.
Part of the battle had a positive impact on the relationship between the First Nations peoples and the settlers of BNA, exemplified by the cooperation of Brock and Tecumseh.
It created an atmosphere of respect for early Canada on the part of the USA, as it was impressed by Canada's ability to defend itself despite being at a disadvantage.

Despite Canada's victories, the USA began to regain their lost ground after the death of General Brock at the Battle of Queenston Heights.. Canada appointed a new leader, Henry Proctor, who did not have the same values as Brock. Brock had promised Tecumseh rights to land and resources after their victory, whereas Proctor went back on that promise as he did not believe it was valid. Despite this, Tecumseh kept working with Proctor until he died while making a stand fleeing from Detroit.

After Tecumseh's death, the First Nations groups dissipated-lack of leader. Without Tecumseh or Brock, the Canadian armies were forced to retreat further into their country, shortly losing the Great Lakes region and the Capital City known as York.

After a period where neither side gained or lost ground, the war became too costly for America to supply for. Russia put forth the Treaty of Ghent, stating that both sides would relinquish all previous conquests, essentially returning all land rights to what they were before the war. This was accepted by British North America and the USA on December 24, 1814.
And others
What would have happened if the War of 1812 hadn't happened?
If the War of 1812 hadn't happened, then British North America might not have earned the respect of the USA, and then been taken over on a different occasion, or the USA would have invaded slightly another time, and the borders of the countries we know today might be different. Maybe, even, Britain would have responded to the USA's invasion and retaliated by waging a full-out war with them, which might have ended with British North America/Canada covering much more of North America than it does today. Or, since one of the main reasons America decided to attack British North America at all was because almost all of Britain's attention was focused on the Napoleonic Wars, the US jumped on the opportunity while they had a chance. If they hadn't, maybe no war would have happened, and things would end up just like they are now.
Some Irony in these Wars:
Some ironic events that occurred in the French revolution and Napoleonic Wars are:
Some believe that prior to the French Revolution, King Louis XVI looked over initial designs for the guillotine, and suggested the angular blade shape for the utmost accuracy and speed in beheading its victims. Less than a year later, he was was the one who felt his own design's precision.
The French Revolution began to abolish the monarchy and feudal system, but when Napoleon rose up from the turmoil, he crowned himself emperor and gave his friends and supporters nobility status and land, starting the whole system again.
Napoleon amassed one of the largest armies ever recorded when he invaded Russia; ~600,000 men marched with him. However, it was not the Russian military forces which decimated this army, it was the more natural force of Russia's deadly winter, without the necessary supplies. Only ~100,000 men marched back out with Napoleon, Russians nipping at their heels.
Irony continued
Some irony in the War of of 1812:
When the USA invaded British North America, they thought it would be a peaceful takeover, expecting that the settlers would be eager to join the USA. However, an easy invasion they did not get, with a troop led by General Robert Ross burning the White House and the capital.
British North America was a part of Britain, but during the War of 1812 it had very little help from its patron, and won the war mainly without its support.
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