Comparing points of view

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 5 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #15567


    Jaimie, first off, love the podcast, I have been feverishly trying to get caught up, as I am not one of those people who can jump in to the middle of things; I have to start at the beginning, no exceptions.  Which means of course that I am now going to have to go back and listen to the Roman History podcast; and I even looked to see if there was a Greek History podcast before I stopped myself, as there are only so many hours in a day, and they won't let me listen to podcasts while I work anymore. History is my thing, I find pretty much all of it interesting.  In any event, I know that we aren't even close to this period yet, but I was reading an online article about some upcoming celebrations of the bicentennial of the War of 1812; and the article mentioned the different viewpoint that Canada had about that war versus the United States.  And it reminded me of something I've wondered for some time now; how does say the British viewpoint of that war(or the Revolutionary War, for that matter), differ from the viewpoint of here in the States.  It has to be very different.  So I was wondering if you had thought about examining that?  I wouldn't want it to take over the podcast, but for a bit of contrast, maybe.  Still, though, love the podcast.  It makes me want to take notes, and I have been out of school for longer than I want to think of.  Thanks.

  • #18112


    Obviously I'm not Jamie but I can provide a bit of a comment. In my experience, for obvious reasons the War of 1812 is largely forgotten in the British Isles. Despite Lonnie Donegan singing about the battle of New Orleans (, the British tend to completely ignore the 1812 war and are largely ignorant of it ever happening. There is much more emphasis (both in the education system and in the worlds of fiction and history) on the Napoleonic Wars that happened at the same time, and from which Britain emerged somewhat more covered in glory.

  • #18113


    Honestly, most people I've met are completely unaware of it. It was never mentioned in my school's history lessons (but them nor were the Romans, Anglo Saxons, Plantagenets, the Restoration, the American War of Independence, the Raj, or the Napoleonic wars. If you wanted a good view of what it was like to be a farmer or a coal miner in the industrial revolution or a WW1 conscientious objector, then you might be in luck!)I have covered the 1812 war in my self taught history, but it seems a little irrelevant to British history. It was a minor oversea's action during the frankly far more important Napoleonic struggle, which deter,inked the course of European colonial expansion for the next 150 years, and included some of Britains greatest battles, generals, soldiers and hero's. The War of Indepndence doesn't feel major to us. It is ancient history. It was major of course. World changing, but for us it isn't a mythic event. Some of the mythos seems overblown, and it is irritating to be constantly portrayed as brutal oppressors when the reality was a lot, lot more complex. The gross misrepresentation of the Boston Massacre is pretty galling as they were in reality a small group of soldiers surrounded and provoked heavily by a mob. Worth a read up on the actual facts from the trial records. I'm sure Jaime will do both sides justice. Also the British administration at the time was notorious incompetent so we have very little glory to find in the war. I'd love to run the thought experiment of what would have happened if Wellington and Nelson had been in charge of the American Theatres of War after the early death of Napoleon. I guess every war depends on your POV, and no one likes to think of their own side as the bad guys as if there is such a thing.

  • #18114


    I'll cover 1812, but not nearly as in depth as the revolutionary war.  What I will try to do is cover the American revolution from two perspectives, from the point of view of the British at home and from the point of view of the loyalists in America.  It won't be for quite a while, of course.  But that's the current plan. I'm glad you're enjoying the show!

  • #18115


    Hi mis"1.  That's when our National Anthem was written. 2.  The White House was burned as well as the Capitol.  (both 1 and 2 are worthy of "mythos")"That's an interesting comment; what level of historical event should be worth of becoming mythic? Should any historical event be taught in a manner that makes it mythic, or should it be factual (but exciting)? Has it gone too far with the nation myths of the War of Independence and the 1812 War? An interesting parallel is the overblown myth of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain - both of which write the Royal Navies heroic contributions almost out of existence and neither of which were war winning victories?

  • #18116


    I would say that the War of 1812 is also largely forgotten by Americans, I don't remember anything about it from school. I can see why British school kids would learn even less about it, the Napoleonic wars had a much greater impact on England and Europe.

    I guess every war depends on your POV, and no one likes to think of their own side as the bad guys as if there is such a thing.

    Very true!

  • #18117

    Rick Smyth

    …and we beat the French.

  • #18118


    Hee Hee, we always beat the French.In fact, we are undefeated in all 7 major conflicts since US independence; Napoleonic, Crimea, East Asia (Various), WW1, WW2, Korea, Gulf Wars.Reminds me of a T-Shirt I saw before the 2nd Gulf War: A picture of a British Bulldog strangling Saddam, in the back ground was a concussed Hitler, a Sinking Warship and concussed generic continentals, with the legend "Mess with the Best End Up Like the Rest"I don't condone the causal racism of the T-Shirt but it does remind me that deep down, what the British really, really like is a fight (Are you ready for a war!) Now, if you flip it round you could see how this view would be the view of an offensive conqueror by the other side, but since we won and it is our history we view them as heroic victories (albeit that we are currently going through an unwarranted level of post colonial guilt).

  • #18119


    I thank everyone for their replies, and apologize for the confusion.  I was is fact using the War of 1812 as an example of where the British point of view might differ from the American point of view.  The online article simply reminded me of a thought I'd had some time ago; different cultures would view the same event differently.  I agree though, that the War of 1812 was much more important to the New World than the Old World.  You have to give kudos to the British Army though, they accomplished what Napoleon wasn't able to:  fight on two fronts successfully.  Also the victory of the Allies at Waterloo becomes a bit more significant when you remember that many of the veterans of the Pennisular War were in America when it was fought.  Although that is way off subject. 

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