Sunday, July 04, 2010

War of Independence/Revolutionary War and an aside on barbecue

Happy 4th of July, which, apparently, is a good enough name for a holiday, since EditorMark, over on Twitter, informed us today that:
“Independence Day” is more descriptive, but “Fourth of July” is the name given in the 1938 act that extended pay for the federal holiday.
Here at SbaCL Headquarters, we're more about co-dependence than independence, but in hono(u)r of the holiday, my Twittered Difference of the DayTM was:
BrE 'the American War of Independence' vs. AmE 'Revolutionary War'.
In more formal contexts, I should add, you're likely to find American Revolution in AmE. 

But then I read this New York Times article (pointed out by Not From Around Here) in which the English historian author writes of the War of American Independence.  Oh no, I thought, I got it wrong.  Or did I?  Google gave me nearly ten times as many War of American Independences (1.3 million) as American War of Independences (144k).  Searching just .uk sites, the difference is still there: 69k American independences and 16k American wars. But it still didn't ring true for me, or, it turns out, at least one of my Twitter followers, so I re-checked it in the British National Corpus, which gives us (among its 100 million words) 23 American War of Independences and 3 War of American Independences.  Now, the BNC texts are from the 1980s and early 1990s, and of course most web text is later than that.  And the web is not a reliable corpus, since it isn't balanced between different types of texts and it includes a great amount of repetition.  But still, one has to wonder whether the adjective-placement tide has changed.

Incidentally, the (Anglo-American) War of 1812 is sometimes known as the Second War of American Independence.  It's one of those things that every American schoolchild will have to learn about, but  you'll be hard-pressed to find an English person who's heard of it.  Why? Well, the Americans won it, so they have the bragging rights, but more importantly, for the English, it was just an annoying thing that was going on in the colonies during (and as a consequence of) the Napoleonic Wars.  It'll be those conflicts that English schoolchildren will encounter (in year 8, according to the National Curriculum).

As an aside, revolutionary is typically pronounced differently in US and UK. In AmE it has six syllables: REvoLUtioNAry.  In BrE, it may drop the 'a' (revolution'ry) as part of a general pattern of reduction of  vowel+ry at the ends of words--thus it has one main stress (-LU-) and one secondary stress (RE-), unlike the two secondaries in AmE.  Also, in BrE 'u' may be pronounced with an on-glide (see this old post for explanation).  Both of those "BrE" pronunciation features are not found throughout BrE.  I'd consider them to be features of RP ('Received Pronunciation'), but I'm sure others (you, perhaps?) can comment better on geographical distribution.

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you're celebrating, you're having a lovely fourth of July.  I usually try to (orig. AmE) cook out to mark the day, but I discovered yesterday that our* (AmE) grill/(BrE) barbecue** has been murdered by scaffolders.  My beloved Weber! And this is how I came to celebrate American independence by eating a Sunday roast dinner complete with Yorkshire pudding and parsnips at a pub (with lime cordial and soda).  As I said, co-dependent, not independent.

*Oh, who am I kidding? It's mine. Vegetarian Better Half could not care less.
** I mark this as BrE because in AmE a barbecue is generally the event (this sense also found in BrE) or the food (as in I miss good barbecue--it is a mass noun, and particularly used in the South). When I say it refers to 'the food' I emphatically do not mean overcooked burgers and sausages, the scourge of British summer entertaining.  What constitutes barbecue varies regionally in the US--in some places it's specifically pork, in others beef.  And it will involve smoking and special sauces.  And it will be tender and tasty.  Where you are when you order some barbecue will in large part determine where on the sweet-to-spicy continuum the barbecue will fall.


ella said...

as a Canadian, I am confused. *We* won the war of 1812! We burnt down the White House and everything! All Canadian schoolchildren know this.

ros said...

I did know there was a war in America in 1812 but only because, as you say, British troops who ought to have been fighting Napoleon had to be sent over there instead. I didn't know what it was called before now, though. And I definitely agree with you and the other tweeter that American War of Independence sounds much more natural to me than the other way round.

Maria said...

It seems that the only things most American schoolchildren remember about the War of 1812 are that (a) the White House was burnt down, and that (b) Dolley Madison, the First Lady at the time, saved a portrait of George Washington. Also, there's a book called "History Lessons," by Dana Lindaman and Kyle Ward, that shows how different countries around the world teach American History. In the section devoted to the War of 1812, there is an excerpt from a Canadian textbook, "A History of the Canadian Peoples," (pub. 1998) that includes this: "Only in the Canadas did the War of 1812 have any great impact. The great struggle between British and American allegiance was played out internally in Upper Canada between 1812 and 1815, and the British won. After 1815 the overt American influence on Upper Canada would gradually decline." Also, most American schoolchildren don't even realize that the U.S. invaded Canada.

How do British schools approach the (AmE) Revolutionary War?

-Maria, from New York

Roger Owen Green said...

I agree with Maria re War of 1812. No one I know has ever called it the 2nd war of independence. In fact, most Americans aren't that clear WHY we fought the war, except from the song Battle of New Orleans (essentially after war was over) was a popular song a half century ago.

US/upstate NY

John Cowan said...

In no reasonable sense did the U.S. win the War of 1812. None of the U.S. war aims were achieved, not even stopping the forced enlistment of American citizens who were former British subjects into the Royal Navy. It ended with a status quo ante bellum treaty. The main effects on the U.S. were internal: Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans (after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed, actually) and so came to national prominence and eventually the Presidency, the first "westerner" to do so.

I often call the War of 1812 "Canada's War of Independence" (from the U.S., that is). We invaded, thinking we'd be greeted as liberators. Oops.

Another name contrast: the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) is known in the U.S. as the French and Indian War.

lynneguist said...

And here I was thinking that all the comments would be about barbecue!

lynneguist said...

I've struck out the contentious line (it's still visible, so you can see what there is to blame me for).

Anonymous said...

There are two senses of "barbecue" in common use, with adherents of the more restricted sense claiming to represent the One, True Way, as in "Look for the pink smoke ring that is the sign of true barbecue." Thanks to the Food Network and the expansion of "true barbecue" to the northern states, people are starting to become more comfortable having both senses in their vocabulary. The major styles include Eastern North Carolina (sour, vinegar-based sauce), South Carolina (mustard-based sauce), Memphis (spicy tomato-based sauce thinned with vinegar, like commercial "BBQ sauce"), Kansas City (dry rub -- you can add the sauce of your choice if that's the way you like it), and Texas. The styles of the southeast are pork-based -- pulled pork shoulder in most of the south, ribs in Tennessee -- whereas Kansas City and Texas prefer beef. I've had excellent barbecue in Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, and of course the incomparable Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City.

Gordon P. Hemsley said...

I do indeed have a bone to pick about your comments about "barbecue"—but not regarding what type of food it entails.

Where I'm from (Long Island), it is definitely possible to use "barbecue" to refer to the actual contraption that does the cooking. In fact, I would say that "barbecue" is the primary usage, if not the only one (which it pretty much is in my idiolect).

Anonymous said...

My (UK) awareness of UK/US hostilities in 1812 is very limited, and based mainly on Patrick o'Brian novels. For me, 1812 conjures up European war, mainly because the 1812 Overture features on so many "music in the park" type Summer concerts.

Generally, I seem not to have been taught much 19th century history at school. What stick in the memory are the Norman Conquest, Richard the Lion Heart, Peasants' Revolt, Tudors and Stuarts, including Civil War, then some 20th century stuff.

Richard Gadsden said...

My (UK) awareness of 19th century history is unrepresentative; I did British and European History 1789-1914 for A Level.

Even though I can probably still name every major battle of the Peninsular War, the total of what I knew about the war of 1812 is that it happened and the Canadian banc "3 dead trolls and a baggie" wrote a song about burning the White House down.

On the American War of Independence, the modern (ie post 60s) view is to see it as a colonial war of independence, like Kenya, or Algeria, or Vietnam.

Eloise said...

To Maria:

The typical school level of understanding of understanding of the American War of Independence in the UK is "Uh, what?"

It's a war we lost, and like lots of them, we don't really teach it that much. When I was at school, for example, we did a load about Henry V and the conquest of large parts of France. Henry VI was "and he gave them all back" (which is probably not true, but it's pretty much what I was taught).

And actually, as Lynne said originally, we don't really regard it as a war we lost even. We were busy fighting Napoleon et al in Europe and he harried some troublesome supply lines so we let them lapse would probably be the next level of understanding you'd get.

You might find, if someone is reading "Last of the Mohicans" or similar and tries to find out some historical context they know more. If they go beyond the basic knowledge in the national curriculum, they're probably students of Modern History at University level, maybe English Literature students doing an American Literature of the right period class.

Anonymous said...

I learned about the Napoleonic Wars at school (UK, 1960s), but was unaware of the War of 1812 until, as a student librarian, I was told that the Library of Congress originated with a collection donated by someone to replace a library lost when the British burned Washington. "What?" I thought. "Why were we fighting the Americans in 1812?"

Kate (Derby, UK)

Anonymous said...

Correction - I was misinformed, or misremembered (it was a long time ago). According to the LC's website, it was Thomas Jefferson's library that was bought to replace the lost one.


Ginger Yellow said...

How do British schools approach the (AmE) Revolutionary War?

They don't. Not at GCSE level anyway.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Honestly, I don't know much about the War of 1812 - we learned very little in schools here. The main thing I remember is the bit about the Star-Spangled Banner...

As for the "barbecue" - we tend to refer to it as both, the grill and/or the barbecue. I want to add that barbecued chicken is also a big part of barbecuing. Really, I think it is all in the sauces while the meats vary (we even had veggie burgers this year!). How sad that your grill/barbecue has died. I hope you still managed to have a wonderful Fourth! I'm not sure the Sunday roast dinner would suit me for an Independence Day celebration, but you do what you can, I suppose. I like your idea of "co-dependence" over independence. :)

-Laura (Colorado, US)

Nightfalltwen said...

Yeah, speaking as a Canadian as well... we won the war of 1812. Not the Americans. Technically the British won... since we weren't exactly our own country yet. But it's a huge part of our history classes.

Elizabeth said...

In school we were definitely taught that the US and UK fought to a draw in the war of 1812 (US 90s). It wasn't until university that was introduced to Canadian idea that they had won. I'm still not really sure how that one shakes out since the US burned the buildings of the Assembly too and there was the status quo treaty. I'm not sure that anything really changed besides the exchange of New England fishing right on the Grand Banks for navigation rights on the Mississippi. At the time that almost certainly seemed like a much better exchange than it does now.

On a related note my friend's facebook status after the US-England world cup draw was "Like the War of 1812 but with fewer Canadian inexplicably saying they won."

Graham Bird said...

The war of 1812 wasn't a 'draw' the official documents declare that neither country won.

... and it wasn't anything to do with the Napoleonic wars either. "Free Trade and Seaman's Rights was the call.

Roosevelt wrote on of the best books about it, and for those of you near one of the pubs named HMS Leopard, revel in the fact that she was one of the primary instigators of the war when she fired on the Constitution to 'recover' absconded British sailors.

Graham Bird said...

and the war of 1812 is, of course, the origin of 'The Star Spangled Banner', despite many Americans believing that it refers to the War of Independence.

Every time I stand to recognize my adopted anthem, I take a real delight in the fact that we are standing to hear the theme tune of a London Musician's drinking club - the Anacreontic.

inthesilverlining said...

Wilfully resisting the urge to make a peurile comment about "Free Trade and Seaman's Rights", The American War of Independence and its sequel 1812: This Time It's Personal Eh are a constant source of utter indifference for the British educational system. In fact when I was at senior school (age 11-16)the curiculum went something like: Magna Carta, Black Death, Peasants Revolt, Tudors, French Revolution, World Wars. None of the Humanities are compulsory post-14 so that's as far as I ever got. I did always think it was a real shame we never studied more involved history of the Commonwealth, seeing as we are still international brethren with many countries and owe them a debt of service, particularly the West Indies.

I was quite shocked in my 20s to discover just how extensive the US contribution to WWII was actually. In school I was always literally taught "The Americans rocked up at the end and took all the credit, then occupied Japan." Anyway, I digress.

I would never use 'barbeque' as a mass noun. It is a verb or an event. And possibly a flavour (the smoky, tomato-based variety.) The idea that 'barbeque' could only refer to one specific cut of meat seems very odd, since you can barbeque almost anything edible. Not eggs it transpires.

To my BrE ears 'grill' doesn't fit either. Chargrill could work, with flames coming up through a grille on which the meat is placed. Just 'a grill' though, is part of your cooker and you put things like cheese on toast or bacon under it in a tray (the grill tray to be precise.)

Does AmE have the expression 'Barbeque Summer'? It seems to have been invented by the Met Office in the late Noughties and is now slung about with gay abandon whenever predictions of the summer's weather arise (which is often) but I'm sure I'd never heard it before last year. Unlike, for example, 'Indian Summer' which I'd come across in American novels, although it's very rarely used in spoken BrE to my knowledge.


Anonymous said...

Solo, "Barbecue" is spelled with a C! I think the widespread idea that there's a Q in it comes from the jokey spelling BAR-B-Q sometimes seen on posters.

In my day we were taught about the American War of Independence at school, but not the War of 1812.

Kate (Derby, UK)

biochemist said...

Gosh, I have been using the wrong terms for everything:

I assumed that 'War of Independence' was the polite form to be used in the US, while 'American Revolution' implied that our opponents were a scruffy bunch of activists fighting the rightful government ... and the Anglo-American War of 1812 was a side show in the Napoleonic Wars, which I did hear about at school for O-level history in the UK (long ago). Heard a bit more about it while living in Canada but it's all mixed up with sticky cakes for some reason (well, Laura Secord).

I also struggle with the spelling of barbeque/barbecue because of the persistent story that it derives from 'barbe et queue' suggesting some French - or perhaps Creole - people eating cuts of meat from the beard to the tail.

The first apparatus we bought in Canada (1979) was referred to as a Hibachi - it wasn't very big but could be transported to the provicial parks for an impromtu afternoon cook-out. It was cast-iron and re-usable, so much more environmentally friendly than the foil boxes that one might use nowadays.

And I think we should remind AmE speakers that the UK 'grill' in a cooker/stove has heat from above, so you may call it a broiler I think.

Anonymous said...

"a scruffy bunch of activists fighting the rightful government."

Which is in many ways, the way we Yanks like to think of it as well!!!

Richard Howland-Bolton said...

Although the Battle of New Orleans is the famous post-peace battle, we (I'm a Briton) actually won the last engagement of the war, at Fort Bowyer. The most interesting fact about these two was that although practically no one in Britain knows about the latter, back in 1959 Lonnie Donegan had a No 2 hit in Britain with a song about the former!
Full of lines like "ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em, ran down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico."! (from Wikipedia)
We loved it!
But then the English (if not the rest of the British) have always liked to celebrate a good defeat, from Maldon (East Anglians 0 - Vikings 1) to The Charge of the Light Brigade(Russians 278 - British 0).
BTW a good friend of mine (many years ago) was a specialist in the late eighteenth century in the US and he always called the revolution "the first American Civil War".

Richard Howland-Bolton said...

Although the Battle of New Orleans is the famous post-peace battle, we (I'm a Briton) actually won the last engagement of the war, at Fort Bowyer. The most interesting fact about these two was that although practically no one in Britain knows about the latter, back in 1959 Lonnie Donegan had a No 2 hit in Britain with a song about the former!
Full of lines like "ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em, ran down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico."! (from Wikipedia)
We loved it!
But then the English (if not the rest of the British) have always liked to celebrate a good defeat, from Maldon (East Anglians 0 - Vikings 1) to The Charge of the Light Brigade(Russians 278 - British 0).
BTW a good friend of mine (many years ago) was a specialist in the late eighteenth century in the US and he always called the revolution "the first American Civil War".

Anonymous said...

I had to dig in the Way Back Machine for this: The Straight Dope on the war of 1812, which summarises much of what has already been written here:

I'm a Brit, and we briefly covered both the Revolutionary war and the war of 1812 at school. The teachings basically consisted of "We Lost that one, but we didn't loose (but didn't win) that other one. Look! The Tudors!"

I know rather more about it now, mostly due to now living in the States and having a vague interest in it. I think it's taught less in the UK not because we lost (and didn't win), but in the first case it was an embarrassing oversight in that it wasn't worth the time what with fighting another war at the same time (turned out it was, oops), and in the second case the reason for the war itself was ever so slightly embarrassing in retrospect.

we lost in 1066 too, but get taught plenty about it... Of course since we were conquered we sort of won it too... How confusing.

Solo said...

Ah yes, barbecue. I knew that. And I finally have an inkling of what a broiler might be. No one would ever tell me.

Julie said...

For me, (California native) the grill is the part of the barbecue that you put the food on. The whole thing is a barbecue, and the event may be a barbecue as well. The food is barbecued...we don't use it as a mass noun, and if you mean the long-smoking technique, you have to call it (for example) "Texas style barbecue" or the like.

The thing inside the oven is a broiler, and the food that comes out of it is broiled, not grilled or barbecued.

nat said...

Google's hit numbers are notoriously vague for anything over about a thousand hits, and you often get more hits the more words you add. For instance, if you add the definite article to your search string (which should eliminate references to the "second war") and search for "the American war of independence" (in quotes) the number of hits actually goes up dramatically, to 874,000. "The war of American independence" gives 337,000. But if you click through to the final page of results for each - thereby eliminating most of the repetitions - the numbers are 699 and 589 respectively. All of which is still extremely unreliable, of course, but suggests that your initial instincts may well have been basically correct.

lekkermeisje said...

In Texas, at least where I'm from, you put barbecue (mass noun) on a barbecue *pit* (or maybe a grill) and barbecue it or grill it. If you have a little party to go with the ritual it's called a barbecue.

Terry said...

Interestingy (at least I think it is) the OED's oldest definition for "barbecue" is "A rude wooden framework, used in America for sleeping on, and for supporting above a fire meat that is to be smoked or dried."

empty said...

According to the Online Etymological Dictionary "barbecue" is distantly related to "buccaneer".

empty said...

In my world (NE US) barbecue primarily means a cookout. Or maybe the equipment for a cookout, but I call that a (barbecue) grill. It doesn't matter what's being cooked: burgers, veggie burgers, swordfish steaks, some form of traditional Southern barbecue, whatever. It's still a barbecue.

Some friends of mine, northerners at a conference in (US) Georgia, missed a barbecue dinner because they thought it would be canceled on account of rain along with another outdoor event. It was not canceled; it was not an outdoor event; it was a dinner catered by a barbecue joint.

The other day I heard a TV ad(vert) refer to "grilling out". Unidiomatic as far as I'm concerned -- either "grilling" or "cooking out".

mollymooly said...

"the grill is the part of the barbecue that you put the food on"
That is the "grille". Of course "grill" and "grille" are really different spellings of the same word.

The original "barbecue" was the pit barbecue: put a whole animal in a pit, cover it with embers, wait many hours. The sense been extended in various ways since then, with different regions objecting to each successive extension. My personal definition is that if you grill/broil food outdoors over an open flame (charcoal or gas) then it's a barbecue. But then you can buy "indoor barbecues" which I guess would just be grills.

I also dislike the spelling "barbeque", which ought to rhyme with "cheque" or "discotheque". Other "-cue" words are "rescue", "curlicue". My impression is that the Q form is most common in Australia and least common in America.

I've never encountered "War of American Independence". I would say "American War of Independence" or perhaps "US War of Independence". I would have said the "American Revolution" was a broader event of which the War was only the most important chapter.

Eloise said...

inthesilverlining - I certainly have regularly heard and used the phrase "Indian Summer" throughout my BrE (and Southern, Northern and Welsh dialect exposed) life.

Nearly always to refer to a hot, dry September/October (well hot and dry by our standards).

I'm quite surprised to see wikipedia refer to it as an American term in fact - I always assumed it referred to weather like India's.

Anonymous said...

I'd call an appliance for cooking barbecue (slow cooking) a smoker. And the appliance for grilling (fast cooking: burgers, steaks, hotdogs and such) a grill. I'm from Kansas City.

Andy JS said...

It's interesting that the usual American practice of saying the month first and the date second is reversed for the 4th of July, so it actually sounds quite British.

However I think I'm right in saying that 4th of July is celebrated in the UK about as much as Bonfire Night is celebrated in the USA: ie. not much.

Anonymous said...

The date is still July 4th. 4th of July is name of the holiday.

Julie said...

I agree. If I were writing a check on the Fourth, I'd date it July 4.

The holiday is properly called The Fourth of July. I think calendars call it "Independence Day" because, well, it would look stupid to label July 4th the Fourth of July, wouldn't it?

On the other hand, the reversed construction is not rare in conversation or narrative. "They're getting married on the 18th (of August)." Note that "the" and "of" are required. Outside a sentence, normal AmE usage requires: Aug. 18, 8/18, 7/4.

Oh, and along with anonymous, I usually use "smoker" to refer to the thing that makes Texas Barbecue (or the smaller one that makes Pacific Coast smoked salmon).

lynneguist said...

Just to note: there is an old post on dates here.

Anonymous said...

> Well, the Americans won it, so they have the bragging rights, but more importantly, for the English, it was just an annoying thing that was going on in the colonies during (and as a consequence of) the Napoleonic Wars.

Forgive me if someone else has already mentioned this, but as an Englishman I have to point out that it was the *British* (and Irish), and not just the English who might have found it annoying. Settlers in loyal Canada probably found American imperialism not just annoying but insufferable. (Kudos, as always, to our wonderful allies, the Canadians.)

The Americans *won* the 1812 War? Well, who would have guessed it?! The Stars n' Stripes now fly over the provinces of Canada?! How long, I wonder, before it becomes American doctrine that Americans 'won' the war in Vietnam?

It is good to see you crossed out your original 'brag', Lynne. Now let's have a proper scholarly retraction, or at least an admission that history really isn't your subject. :-)

lynneguist said...

I'm happy to admit that history is not my subject (have never claimed that it was)--I was writing from my memories of US school learning--so you can imagine how we learn{ed/t} about it.

But forgive a commenter for not reading the other commenters' notes on the subject? I don't know about that! :)

ruidh said...

There are lots of reasons to call the War of 1812 a draw. Both sides had military victories and losses. Both sides had territory under control at the cessation of hostilities. The US was hampered by the reliance on militias, some of whom refused to operate outside of American territory. British forces were hampered by the loss of naval superiority on the Great Lakes.

In essence, the British were much more concerned with the continent then the colonies. The military commanders were second raters. Yes, the British burned Washington, but they never tried to occupy territory in the Middle Atlantic and abandoned the siege of Baltimore. The burning of Washington was in retaliation for the American burning of the Governor's mansion and legislature in York (present-day Toronto), turned public sentiment against the war in England and actually hastened the signing of the peace treaty in which both sides gave back occupied territory.

Napoleon was always the greater concern. The war has a heightened importance for both Americans and Canadians and it's understandable that British history tends to skim over it.

Gesci said...

My California-born husband who moved to GA age 11 and I (born and raised in GA) *just* had a lengthy conversation over the definition of barbecue, particularly whether it is the event or the food, and what specificity of food! I just brought it back up using this post as a reference. Thank you! (Obviously I say that you have a "cookout" but you make "barbecue", which is a slow-cooked pulled meat, usually pork, can be chicken or beef.)

David Crosbie said...

Like Richard Howland-Bolton, I learned of the 1812 War from Lonnie Donegan's record Battle of New Orleans — composed, I've since learned, by Jimmy Driftwood.

From time to time BBC radio correspondents remind us about the burning of the White House. It seems to be a stop gap for adding local colour to any sort of report from Washington.

We even touched on it in my school history lessons. It was dismissed briefly as a war fought by mistake, because news of the peace signed following the French defeat hadn't arrived from Europe.

An early Louis Armstrong masterpiece is called Struttin' With Some Barbecue. This puzzled me until I learned that barbecue was the meat, not the apparatus and not the venue. I don't know whether this was a Black English thing, but more than one Blues artist recored Who Did You Give My Barbecue To? And Lucille Bogan (aka Bessie Jackson} sang:

I'm talkin' about barbecue, only thing I crave
And that good-doin' meat will cary me to grave
I'm talkin' about barbecue, only thing I sell
And if you want my meat, you can come to my house at twelve

David Crosbie said...

Finally there's this poular history of the war. Better, it's by a respected TV presenter. Best of all, it's being serialised on BBC Radio Four. For a short while it can be heard here. But there's only five days left to hear Episode 1.

David Crosbie said...

To clarify, I don't think a book with the title When Britain Burned the White House: The 1814 Invasion of Washington can be about the whole war. Certainly the serialisation begins the narrative in 1814. But at least it gives more background than we Brits (most of us) have ever heard.

I never knew that you burnt one of our capital cities first.

Anonymous said...

Americans did not win the War of 1812, but neither did Canadian militiamen burn down the U.S. Capitol and the White House.
Royal Marines -- British regulars -- did.

Neither side "won". The Treaty of Ghent very specifically returned things to a status quo ante bellum.

And yes, this is what I was taught as an American schoolchild and teen.