Helen Goggins: Views of 1812

Steve Paikin discusses the outcome of the war of 1812 with three experts on his television program, “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”. He invited Peter MacLeod, a pre-confederate historian from Canada; Bill Fowler, a history professor at Northeastern University; and Rick Hill, an aboriginal representative.


All three historians provide alternative narratives of the War of 1812. They discuss the causes for the different nations’ entrance into the war, and their view on who won the war. Bill Fowler believed the end of the war solidified national honor for the United States because they pushed off Britain’s advances again. Peter MacLeod viewed the war as a time when Canada asserted themselves within the confines of British rule. The country did not seek independence but it did prove that it was capable of protecting itself. Rick Hill saw that the Native American nations were, “Fighting for the right to exist.” He discussed the struggle between different native american nations who had to choose what side they would align themselves with.


The interview continues with all of the participants sharing their different views about the war or 1812. Peter MacLeod discusses the notion of the war of 1812 being a Civil War. There were Canadians who fled to the United States at the beginning of the war and later had to fight their old neighbors. Fowler did not view the war in the terms of a civil war because the War of 1812 spread far beyond the border between Canada and northern United States. Hill argued the war caused strife between neighboring nations that fought against each other.


Each guest differed predictably in their diagnosis of the outcome of the war. Fowler viewed the war as a win which established the United States as a credible and growing nation, one which had twice defeated the British Crown. The legacy of the war, according to MacLeod, was the creation of two hundred years of peaceful relations between the United States and Canada. Hill asserts that the war continues to this day through the pervasive influence of American culture on oppressed native peoples.



Word Count: 348

AgendaStevePaikin. “Who Really Won the War of 1812?” YouTube. June 29, 2012. Accessed September 27, 2017.      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FAyE6Mqf8Q.


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