The War of 1812 was, in many respects, something of a disaster. Throughout the United States there was a general resentment and frustration over issues of trade that had been improperly settled after the Revolution, and many areas were openly looking for an excuse to go to war with the British again. There was a distinct geographical split seen both in Congress and public opinion. The southern and western sections were largely in favour, seeing it as an excuse to expand westward and gain international respect. Continue reading
The Vietnam War was the first war that the US could not possibly claim to have won. It was the culmination and rebuttal of the Cold War domino theory, and created a lasting distrust of government among Americans, which may have contributed to increasing conservatism and voter apathy. Continue reading
The Battle of New Orleans was the crowning triumph of the War of 1812.
Southerners must have, on some level, realized that their way of life was unsustainable. Continue reading
WWI was the outgrowth and ultimate expression of European nationalism and imperialism1. Once the spark had been lit, competing empires in a patchwork of alliances made sure that the majority of the globe would be on the battlelines, as colonial forces worldwide sought to interrupt their opponents’ colonial activities. It was not the first war to exist in multiple theatres– England and Spain had clashed over control of colonial possessions in the 16th century, and one of the factors leading to the American Revolution was resentment at having been forced to host the North American theatre of the Seven Years’ War2. It was not even the first war to ignore the “rules of warfare” that had been established in the 15th century as a veneer of civility to compensate for the terrifying carnage caused by gunpowder– the Continental Army during the Revolution flouted convention at every turn, frequently the reason they were able to prevail at all against the much larger and better equipped British and Loyalist forces.3 The First World War was called the Great War because it combined multiple theatres on a scope never before seen, and used weapons and tactics that seemingly had no precedent, shocking the human conscience and signalling the end of the European imperialism that had led to it.
In the 1880s, the United States decided– as the oldest and largest nation in the Western Hemisphere– to claim the role of peacekeeper for the region. The seeds for this assumption of responsibility lay in the Monroe Doctrine, which held that affairs in the Western Hemisphere were to be managed by the Western Hemisphere, without interference from Europe1. Continue reading
The most controversial aspect of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was likely the San Patricio Battalion. While they continue to be lauded as national heroes in Mexico, the US government refused to admit their existence until roughly 1915 and the Irish-American community has considered them an awkward and potentially threatening association. It is little wonder– the core of San Patricio Battalion was formed in 1846, consisting almost entirely of deserters from the US Army. Continue reading