Commodore John Rodgers of President declined the challenge because he feared that the rest of the British squadron under Commodore Philip Broke might intervene. Borke detached Guerriere from his squadron to seek out repairs, as she had weak scantlings beams fastened with a thickened clamp rather than vertical and horizontal knees  and had become leaky and rotten. Constitution had nearly 50 percent more men, more firepower, heavier tonnage, and heavier scantlings which determine how much damage enemy shot does to a ship than Guerriere.
Constitution sighted Guerrier miles off the coast of Nova Scotia on August 19, and the two ships engaged in a minute battle. Constitution dismasted Guerriere and captured the crew. Guerriere was beyond repair, and the Americans burned it before returning to Boston. Constitution earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" following this battle, as many of the British cannonballs were seen to bounce off her hull due to her heavy scantlings.
Constitution seemed relatively undamaged in the battle initially, but the crew later determined that Java had successfully hit her masts with pounder shot, but the mast hadn't fallen due to its immense diameter. United States , Constitution , and President were all nearly 50 percent larger by tonnage, crew, firepower, and scantling size than the Macedonian , Guerriere , and Java    Guerriere was rotten and had lightning damage as well as being weakly built as a French ship; Java had extra marines onboard making the disparity in crew more similar although she too was a French-built ship; Macedonian fitted the 50 percent statistic near perfectly   .
The United States Navy's sloops had also won several victories over Royal Navy sloops of approximately equal armament. Ship rigged vessels are more maneuverable in battle because they have a wider variety of sails thus being more resistant to damage. Ship-rigged vessels can back sail, literally backing up or heave to stop. It was clear that in single ship battles, superior force was the most significant factor. The British Admiralty also instituted a new policy that the three American heavy frigates should not be engaged except by a ship of the line or frigates in squadron strength.
Commodore Philip Broke had lost Guerriere to Constitution from his very own squadron. Since, Constitution had taken Guerriere , Broke intended to redeem Dacres' honour by taking Constitution , which was undergoing repairs in Boston in early Broke found that Constitution was not ready for sea. Instead, he decided to challenge Chesapeake as Broke was short on water and provisions and could not wait for Constitution.
Lawrence was mortally wounded and famously cried out, "Tell the men to fire faster! Don't give up the ship! Chesapeake ' s crew was larger, had greater tonnage and was of greater scantling strength which led to the British claiming she was overbuilt  [ verification needed ] , but many of her crew had not served or trained together. Shannon had been at sea for a long time, and her hull had begun to rot, further exaggerating the disparity in scantling strength. British citizens reacted with celebration and relief that the run of American victories had ended.
Captain Lawrence was killed, and Captain Broke was so badly wounded that he never again held a sea command. Many British whaling ships carried letters of marque allowing them to prey on American whalers, and they nearly destroyed the industry. Essex challenged this practice.
She inflicted considerable damage on British interests. Nevertheless, Phoebe was armed with long guns which none of the other ships engaged had. Furthermore, Captain Hillyar had used Phillip Broke's methods of artillery on Phoebe and Cherub with tangent and dispart sights. Once again proving that superior force was the deciding factor. Unlike the previous engagements, President was not taken in a duel. Following the both Royal Navy's requirements, President was pursued by a squadron consisting of four frigates, one being a gun razee.
This gave him the slight advantage at range and slowed President. Commodore Decatur on President had the advantage in scantling strength, firepower, crew, and tonnage, but not in maneuverability. Despite having fewer guns, Endymion was armed with pounders just like President. This meant that Endymion shot could pierce the hull of President unlike Guerriere ' s which bounced of Constitution ' s hull or Java ' s that failed to cut through Constitution ' s mast.
Decatur knew his only hope was to dismantle Endymion and sail away from the rest of the squadron. When he failed, he surrendered his ship to "the captain of the black frigate Endymion ". Decatur took advantage of the fact Endymion had no boats that were intact and attempted to sneak away under the cover of night, only to be caught up by HMS Pomone. Decatur surrendered without a fight. Decatur gave unreliable accounts of the battle stating that President was already "severely damaged" by a grounding before the engagement, but undamaged after the engagement with Endymion.
He stated Pomone caused "significant" losses aboard President , although President ' s crew claim they were below deck gathering their belongings as they had already surrendered. Despite saying "I surrender my ship to the captain of the black frigate", Decatur also writes that he said, "I surrender to the squadron". Nevertheless, many historians such as Ian Toll, Theodore Roosevelt , and William James quote Decatur's remarks to either enforce that Endymion alone took President or that President surrendered to the whole squadron, when actually it was something in-between.
Success in single ship battles raised American morale after the repeated failed invasion attempts in Upper and Lower Canada. However, these victories had no military effect on the war at sea as they did not alter the balance of naval power, impede British supplies and reinforcements, or even raise insurance rates for British trade. The operations of American privateers proved a more significant threat to British trade than the U. They operated throughout the Atlantic and continued until the close of the war, most notably from ports such as Baltimore.
American privateers reported taking British merchant vessels, compared to taken by the U. Navy,    although the insurer Lloyd's of London reported that only 1, British ships were taken, of which were recaptured, for a total loss of Due to the massive size of the British merchant fleet, American captures only affected 7.
Due to the large size of their navy, the British did not rely as much on privateering. The majority of the 1, captured American merchant ships were taken by the Royal Navy. The war was the last time the British allowed privateering, since the practice was coming to be seen as politically inexpedient and of diminishing value in maintaining its naval supremacy.
However privateering remained popular in British colonies. It was the last hurrah for privateers in Bermuda who vigorously returned to the practice after experience in previous wars. Privateer schooners based in British North America , especially from Nova Scotia took American ships and proved especially effective in crippling American coastal trade and capturing American ships closer to shore than the Royal Navy cruisers.
The naval blockade of the United States began informally in and expanded to cut off more ports as the war progressed. The British government, having need of American foodstuffs for its army in Spain, benefited from the willingness of the New Englanders to trade with them, so no blockade of New England was at first attempted. Illicit trade was carried on by collusive captures arranged between American traders and British officers. American ships were fraudulently transferred to neutral flags. Eventually, the U. The overpowering strength of the British fleet enabled it to occupy the Chesapeake and to attack and destroy numerous docks and harbours.
The blockade of American ports later tightened to the extent that most American merchant ships and naval vessels were confined to port. Others, mainly from New England, were issued licences to trade by Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren , commander in chief on the American station in This allowed Wellington's army in Spain to receive American goods and to maintain the New Englanders' opposition to the war.
Most of these were food exports that ironically went to supply their enemies in Britain or British colonies. As the Royal Navy base that supervised the blockade, Halifax profited greatly during the war. From that base British privateers seized many French and American ships and sold their prizes in Halifax. The British Royal Navy's blockades and raids allowed about 4, African Americans to escape slavery by fleeing American plantations to find freedom aboard British ships, migrants known, as regards those who settled in Canada, as the Black Refugees.
The blockading British fleet in Chesapeake Bay received increasing numbers of enslaved black Americans during By British government order they were treated as free persons when reaching British hands. About 2, of the escaped slaves and their families who were carried on ships of the Royal Navy following their escape settled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick during and after the war. From May , younger men among the volunteers were recruited into a new Corps of Colonial Marines.
They fought for Britain throughout the Atlantic campaign, including the Battle of Bladensburg and the attacks on Washington, D. The slaves who escaped to the British represented the largest emancipation of African Americans before the American Civil War. Maine, then part of Massachusetts, was a base for smuggling and illegal trade between the U.
Until the region was generally quiet except for privateer actions near the coast. In September , there was a notable naval action when the U. In 26 days, he raided and looted Hampden , Bangor , and Machias , destroying or capturing 17 American ships. He won the Battle of Hampden losing two killed while the Americans lost one killed. Retreating American forces were forced to destroy the frigate Adams. The British occupied the town of Castine and most of eastern Maine for the rest of the war, re-establishing the colony of New Ireland.
On July 4, , Commodore Joshua Barney , a Revolutionary War naval hero, convinced the Navy Department to build the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla , a squadron of twenty barges powered by small sails or oars sweeps to defend the Chesapeake Bay. Launched in April , the squadron was quickly cornered in the Patuxent River , and while successful in harassing the Royal Navy, they were powerless to stop the British campaign that ultimately led to the " Burning of Washington ".
This expedition, led by Cockburn and General Robert Ross , was carried out between August 19 and 29, , as the result of the hardened British policy of As part of this, Admiral Warren had been replaced as commander in chief by Admiral Alexander Cochrane, with reinforcements and orders to coerce the Americans into a favourable peace. Released from the Peninsular War by victory, the British intended to use them for diversionary raids along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia. On August 24, U. Secretary of War John Armstrong Jr.
The inexperienced state militia was easily routed in the Battle of Bladensburg, opening the route to Washington. American morale was challenged, and many Federalists swung around and rallied to a patriotic defense of their homeland.
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The British moved on to their major target, the heavily fortified major city of Baltimore. They delayed their movement allowing Baltimore an opportunity to strengthen the fortifications and bring in new federal troops and state militia units. The " Battle for Baltimore " began with the British landing on September 12, , at North Point , where they were met by American militia further up the "Patapsco Neck" peninsula.
An exchange of fire began, with casualties on both sides. The British Army commander Major Gen. Robert Ross was killed by snipers. The British paused, then continued to march northwestward to face the stationed Maryland and Baltimore City militia units at "Godly Wood. The British also planned to simultaneously attack Baltimore by water on the following day, September 13, to support their military facing the massed, heavily dug-in and fortified American units of approximately 15, with about a hundred cannon gathered along the eastern heights of the city named "Loudenschlager's Hill" later "Hampstead Hill" — now part of Patterson Park.
The Baltimore defences had been planned in advance and overseen by the state militia commander, Maj. Samuel Smith. The British naval guns, mortars and new " Congreve rockets " had a longer range than the American cannon onshore. The ships mostly stood out of range of the Americans, who returned very little fire. The fort was not heavily damaged except for a burst over a rear brickwall knocking out some fieldpieces but with few casualties. The British eventually realized that they could not force the passage to attack Baltimore in coordination with the land force.
A last ditch night feint and barge attack during a heavy rain storm was led by Capt. Charles Napier around the fort up the Middle Branch of the river to the west. Split and misdirected partly in the storm, it turned back after suffering heavy casualties from the alert gunners of Fort Covington and Battery Babcock. The British called off the attack and sailed downriver to pick up their army, which had retreated from the east side of Baltimore. All the lights were extinguished in Baltimore the night of the attack, and the fort was bombarded for 25 hours. The only light was given off by the exploding shells over Fort McHenry, illuminating the flag that was still flying over the fort.
Because of the region's polyglot population, both the British and the Americans perceived the war in the Gulf South as a fundamentally different conflict from the one occurring in the Lowcountry and Chesapeake. Before , the war between the Creeks or Muscogee had been largely an internal affair sparked by the ideas of Tecumseh farther north in the Mississippi Valley.
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A faction known as the Red Sticks , so named for the colour of their war stics, had broken away from the rest of the Creek Confederacy, which wanted peace with the United States. The Red Sticks were allied with Tecumseh, who about a year before had visited the Creeks and encouraged greater resistance to the Americans. The Red Sticks, as well as many southern Muscogeean people like the Seminole , had a long history of alliance with the Spanish and British Empires.
It prompted the state of Georgia as well as the Mississippi territory militia to immediately take major action against Creek offensives. The Lower Creek lived along the Chattahoochee River. The United States combined forces were large. At its peak the Red Stick faction had 4, warriors, only a quarter of whom had muskets.
The attack on Fort Mimms resulted in the death of settlers and became an ideological rallying point for the Americans. The Indian frontier of western Georgia was the most vulnerable but was partially fortified already. From November to January , Georgia's militia and auxiliary Federal troops — from the Creek and Cherokee Indian nations and the states of North Carolina and South Carolina — organized the fortification of defences along the Chattahoochee River and expeditions into Upper Creek territory in present-day Alabama.
The army, led by General John Floyd , went to the heart of the "Creek Holy Grounds" and won a major offensive against one of the largest Creek towns at Battle of Autosee , killing an estimated two hundred people. Jackson suffered enlistment problems in the winter. He decided to combine his force with that of the Georgia militia. However, from January 22—24, , while on their way, the Tennessee militia and allied Muscogee were attacked by the Red Sticks at the Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek. Jackson's troops repelled the attackers, but outnumbered, were forced to withdraw to his base at Fort Strother.
Jackson's force increased in numbers with the arrival of U. Army soldiers and a second draft of Tennessee state militia and Cherokee and Creek allies swelled his army to around 5, In March they moved south to attack the Creek. The most of western Georgia and part of Alabama was taken from the Creeks to pay for expenses borne by the United States.
The Treaty also "demanded" that the "Red Stick" insurgents cease communicating with the Spanish or British, and only trade with U. The Creek promised to join any body of 'troops that should aid them in regaining their lands, and suggesting an attack on the tower off Mobile. Although he gave an angry reply to Jackson, Manrique was alarmed at the weak position he found himself in. He appealed to the British for help, with Woodbine arriving on July 28, and Nicolls arriving at Pensacola on August Captain William Percy tried to take the U.
After the Americans repulsed Percy's forces, the British established a military presence of up to Marines at Pensacola. In November, Jackson's force of 4, men took the town. Jackson's army of 1, regulars and 3, to 4, militia, pirates and other fighters, as well as civilians and slaves built fortifications south of the city. At the end of , the British launched a double offensive in the South weeks before the Treaty of Ghent was signed.
On the Atlantic coast, Admiral George Cockburn was to close the Intracoastal Waterway trade and land Royal Marine battalions to advance through Georgia to the western territories. The British suffered high casualties: dead, wounded, and captured or missing   whereas American casualties were 13 dead, 39 wounded, and 19 missing.
It was hailed as a great victory across the U. Philip endured ten days of bombardment from Royal Navy guns, which was a final attempt to invade Louisiana; British ships sailed away from the Mississippi River on January However, it was not until January 27, , that the army had completely rejoined the fleet, allowing for their departure. Tammany in a decisive victory. Under the orders of his commanding officers, Cockburn's forces relocated many refugee slaves, capturing St.
Simons Island as well, to do so. During the invasion of the Georgia coast, an estimated 1, people chose to relocate in British territories or join the military. In mid-March, several days after being informed of the Treaty of Ghent, British ships finally left the area. By , both sides had either achieved their main war goals or were weary of a costly war that offered little but stalemate. They both sent delegations to a neutral site in Ghent, Flanders now part of Belgium.
The negotiations began in early August and concluded on December 24, when a final agreement was signed; both sides had to ratify it before it could take effect. Meanwhile, both sides planned new invasions. In the British began blockading the United States, and brought the federal treasury to long delays in paying its bills,    and forcing it to rely on loans for the rest of the war.
American foreign trade was reduced to a trickle. The parlous American economy was thrown into chaos with prices soaring and unexpected shortages causing hardship in New England which was considering secession. Although American privateers found chances of success much reduced, with most British merchantmen now sailing in convoy, privateering continued to prove troublesome to the British, as shown by high insurance rates.
At last in August , peace discussions began in the neutral city of Ghent. Both sides began negotiations warily. It was understood the British would sponsor this Indian state. The British strategy for decades had been to create a buffer state to block American expansion. Britain demanded naval control of the Great Lakes and access to the Mississippi River. The Americans refused to consider a buffer state and the proposal was dropped. American public opinion was outraged when Madison published the demands; even the Federalists were now willing to fight on.
The British had planned three invasions. One force burned Washington but failed to capture Baltimore, and sailed away when its commander was killed. In northern New York State, 10, British veterans were marching south until a decisive defeat at the Battle of Plattsburgh forced them back to Canada. Wellington said that he would go to America but he believed he was needed in Europe. I think you have no right, from the state of war, to demand any concession of territory from America You have not been able to carry it into the enemy's territory, notwithstanding your military success and now undoubted military superiority, and have not even cleared your own territory on the point of attack.
You cannot on any principle of equality in negotiation claim a cessation of territory except in exchange for other advantages which you have in your power Then if this reasoning be true, why stipulate for the uti possidetis? You can get no territory: indeed, the state of your military operations, however creditable, does not entitle you to demand any.
The Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, aware of growing opposition to wartime taxation and the demands of Liverpool and Bristol merchants to reopen trade with America, realized Britain also had little to gain and much to lose from prolonged warfare especially after the growing concern about the situation in Europe. The main focus on British foreign policy was the Congress of Vienna, during which British diplomats had clashed with Russian and Prussian diplomats over the terms of the peace with France, and there were fears at the Britain might have go to war with Russia and Prussia.
Now each side was tired of the war. Export trade was all but paralyzed and after Napoleon fell in France was no longer an enemy of Britain, so the Royal Navy no longer needed to stop American shipments to France, and it no longer needed to impress more seamen. It had ended the practices that so angered the Americans in The British were preoccupied in rebuilding Europe after the apparent final defeat of Napoleon. British negotiators were urged by Lord Liverpool to offer a status quo and dropped their demands for the creation of an Indian barrier state, which was in any case hopeless after the collapse of Tecumseh's alliance.
This allowed negotiations to resume at the end of October. British diplomats soon offered the status quo to the U. Prisoners were to be exchanged and captured slaves returned to the United States or paid for by Britain. At this point, the number of slaves was approximately 6, Britain eventually refused the demand, allowing many to either emigrate to Canada or Trinidad. On December 24, the diplomats had finished and signed the Treaty of Ghent. The treaty was ratified by the British three days later on December 27  and arrived in Washington on February 17, where it was quickly ratified and went into effect, thus finally ending the war.
The terms called for all occupied territory to be returned, the prewar boundary between Canada and the United States to be restored, and the Americans were to gain fishing rights in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The Treaty of Ghent failed to secure official British acknowledgement of American maritime rights or ending impressment.
However, in the century of peace until World War I these rights were not seriously violated. The defeat of Napoleon made irrelevant all of the naval issues over which the United States had fought. The Americans had achieved their goal of ending the Indian threat; furthermore the American armies had scored enough victories especially at New Orleans to satisfy honour and the sense of becoming fully independent from Britain. British losses in the war were about 1, killed in action and 3, wounded;  3, British died from disease. American losses were 2, killed in action and 4, wounded.
While the number of Americans who died from disease is not known, it is estimated that about 15, died from all causes directly related to the war. In addition, at least 3, American slaves escaped to the British lines. Many other slaves simply escaped in the chaos of war and achieved their freedom on their own. The British settled some of the newly freed slaves in Nova Scotia. In the United States, the economy grew every year —, despite a large loss of business by East Coast shipping interests.
Per capita GDP grew at 2. Money that would have been spent on foreign trade was diverted to opening new factories, which were profitable since British factory-made products were not for sale. The Boston Manufacturing Company , built the first integrated spinning and weaving factory in the world at Waltham, Massachusetts, in Neither side lost territory in the war, [i] nor did the treaty that ended it address the original points of contention—and yet it changed much between the United States of America and Britain.
The Treaty of Ghent established the status quo ante bellum ; that is, there were no territorial losses by either side. The issue of impressment was made moot when the Royal Navy, no longer needing sailors, stopped impressment after the defeat of Napoleon in spring ended the war.
Napoleon unexpectedly returned in , after the final end of the war of The long-term results of the war were generally satisfactory to both sides. Except for occasional border disputes and some tensions during the American Civil War , relations between the U. Historian Troy Bickham argues that each participant defined success in a different way.
The new American Republic could claim victory in the sense that its independence from London Was assured, and the Indian barrier to Westward expansion was removed. The memory of the conflict played a major role in helping to consolidate a Canadian national identity after The British retained Canada, but their attention was overwhelmingly devoted to celebrating the defeat of Napoleon.
The general consensus is that the Native Americans were the big losers. It demilitarized the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain, where many British naval arrangements and forts still remained. The treaty laid the basis for a demilitarized boundary. It remains in effect to this day. After two decades of intense warfare against France, Britain was in no mood to have more conflicts with the United States.
Instead it focused on expanding the British Empire into India. Britain never seriously challenged the US over land claims after it had hoped to keep Texas Independent from the United States and had Some hopes of taking California from Mexico. From the s, as the United States emerged as the world's leading industrial power, Britain wanted American friendship in a hypothetical European war.
Border adjustments between the U. Eastport , Massachusetts, was returned to the U. A border dispute along the Maine—New Brunswick border was settled by the Webster—Ashburton Treaty after the bloodless Aroostook War , and the border in the Oregon Country was settled by splitting the disputed area in half by the Oregon Treaty. A further dispute about the line of the border through the island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca resulted in another almost bloodless standoff in the Pig War of The line of the border was finally settled by an international arbitration commission in Bermuda had been largely left to the defences of its own militia and privateers before U.
It originally was intended to be the winter headquarters of the North American Squadron, but the war saw it rise to a new prominence. As construction work progressed through the first half of the 19th century, Bermuda became the permanent naval headquarters in Western waters, housing the Admiralty and serving as a base and dockyard. The military garrison was built up to protect the naval establishment, heavily fortifying the archipelago that came to be described as the "Gibraltar of the West". Pro-British leaders demonstrated a strong hostility to American influences in western Canada Ontario after the war and shaped its policies, including a hostility to American-style republicanism.
In the decades following the war, several projects were undertaken to improve the defence of the colonies against the United States. Additionally, work began on the Halifax Citadel to defend the port against foreign navies. From to , the Rideau Canal was built to provide a secure waterway not at risk from American cannon fire. The Native Americans allied to the British lost their cause.
The British proposal to create a "neutral" Indian zone in the American West was rejected at the Ghent peace conference and never resurfaced. After the natives, who lost most of their fur-gathering territory, became an undesirable burden to British policymakers. The latter now looked to the United States for markets and raw materials. British agents in the field continued to meet regularly with their former American Indian partners, but they did not supply arms or encouragement and there were no American Indian campaigns to stop U.
Abandoned by their powerful sponsor, American Great Lakes—area Indians ultimately migrated or reached accommodations with the American authorities and settlers. The war is seldom remembered in Great Britain. The massive ongoing conflict in Europe against the French Empire under Napoleon ensured that the British did not consider the War of against America as more than a sideshow.
While the land campaigns had contributed to saving Canada, the Royal Navy had shut down American commerce, bottled up the U. Navy in port, and widely suppressed privateering. British businesses, some affected by rising insurance costs, were demanding peace so that trade could resume with the U.
However, the two nations quickly resumed trade after the end of the war and, over time, a growing friendship. This was the principal rationale for Britain's long-term policy of rapprochement with the United States in the nineteenth century and explains why they were so often willing to sacrifice other imperial interests to keep the republic happy. The nation also gained a psychological sense of complete independence as people celebrated their "second war of independence". No longer questioning the need for a strong Navy, the U.
Navy became the heroes of their generation in the U. Several war heroes used their fame to win election to national office. Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison both took advantage of their military successes to win the presidency, while Richard Mentor Johnson used his wartime exploits to help attain the vice presidency.
During the war, New England states became increasingly frustrated over how the war was being conducted and how the conflict was affecting them. They complained that the U. The increased taxes, the British blockade, and the occupation of some of New England by enemy forces also agitated public opinion in the states. They did not call for secession but word of the angry anti-war resolutions appeared at the same time that peace was announced and the victory at New Orleans was known. The upshot was that the Federalists were permanently discredited and quickly disappeared as a major political force.
This war enabled thousands of slaves to escape to British lines or ships for freedom, despite the difficulties. The planters' complacency about slave contentment was shocked at the sight of their slaves fleeing, risking so much to be free. After the decisive defeat of the Creek Indians at the battle of Horseshoe Bend in , some Creek warriors escaped to join the Seminole in Florida, who had been forming as an ethnic group since the late 18th century. The remaining Creek chiefs signed away about half their lands, comprising 23,, acres, covering much of southern Georgia and two thirds of modern Alabama.
The Creek were separated from any future help from the Spanish in Florida, and from the Choctaw and Chickasaw to the west. During the war the United States seized Mobile, Alabama , which was a strategic location as it provided an oceanic outlet for export from the cotton lands to the north. Most were yet to be developed, but US control of this territory increased pressure on remaining Creek, as European Americans began to migrate in number into the area. Jackson invaded Florida in , demonstrating to Spain that it could no longer control that territory with a small force.
First Nations in Canada
Thus indirectly the War of brought about the acquisition of Florida To both the Northwest and the South, therefore, the War of brought substantial benefits. It broke the power of the Creek Confederacy and opened to settlement a great province of the future Cotton Kingdom. During the 19th century, residents of both the United States and Canada widely believed that their own countries had won the war. Each young country saw its self-perceived victory, and settling of the border between them, as an important foundation of its growing nationhood.
The British, on the other hand, who had been preoccupied by Napoleon's challenge in Europe, paid little attention to what was to them a peripheral and secondary dispute, a distraction from the principal task at hand. While American popular memory includes the British capture and the burning of Washington in August ,  which necessitated its extensive renovation, it focused on the victories at Baltimore, Plattsburg, and New Orleans to present the war as a successful effort to assert American national honour, the "second war of independence" in which the mighty British empire was humbled and humiliated.
This interpretation of the war was and remains the dominant American view of the war. Americans also celebrated the successful American defence of Fort McHenry in September , which inspired the lyrics of what was adopted as the U. Navy became popular heroes, and commemorative plates were produced with the likenesses of Decatur, Issac Hull, and Charles Stewart on them, becoming popular items. Many of these plates were manufactured in England. The navy became a cherished institution, lauded for the victories that it won against all odds.
Marines had acquired a well-deserved reputation as excellent marksmen, especially in ship-to-ship actions. In British North America, the War of was seen by Loyalists as a victory, as they had claimed they had successfully defended their country from an American takeover. Army had done poorly, on the whole, in several attempts to invade Canada, and the Canadians had fought bravely to defend their territory.
But the British did not doubt that the thinly populated territory would remain vulnerable in a third war. By the 21st century it was a forgotten war in Britain,  although still remembered in Canada, especially Ontario. Historians have differing and complex interpretations of the war. Neither side wanted to continue fighting since the main causes had disappeared and since there were no large lost territories for one side or the other to reclaim by force.
Insofar as they see the war's resolution as allowing two centuries of peaceful and mutually beneficial intercourse between the U. These writers often add that the war could have been avoided in the first place by better diplomacy. It is seen as a mistake for everyone concerned because it was badly planned and marked by multiple fiascoes and failures on both sides, as shown especially by the repeated American failures to seize parts of Canada, and the failed British attack on New Orleans and upstate New York.
However, other scholars hold that the war constituted a British victory and an American defeat. They argue that the British achieved their military objectives in by stopping the repeated American invasions of Canada and retaining their Canadian colonies. In contrast, they say, the Americans suffered a defeat when their armies failed to achieve their war goal of seizing part or all of Canada. Additionally, they argue the U. Even tied down by ongoing wars with Napoleonic France, the British had enough capable officers, well-trained men, and equipment to easily defeat a series of American invasions of Canada.
In fact, in the opening salvos of the war, the American forces invading Upper Canada were pushed so far back that they ended up surrendering Michigan Territory. The difference between the two navies was even greater. While the Americans famously shockingly for contemporaries on both sides of the Atlantic bested British ships in some one-on-one actions at the war's start, the Royal Navy held supremacy throughout the war, blockading the U. Yet in late , the British offered surprisingly generous peace terms despite having amassed a large invasion force of veteran troops in Canada, naval supremacy in the Atlantic, an opponent that was effectively bankrupt, and an open secessionist movement in New England.
He considers that the British offered the United States generous terms, in place of their initially harsh terms which included massive forfeiture of land to Canada and the American Indians , because the "reigning Liverpool ministry in Britain held a loose grip on power and feared the war-weary, tax-exhausted public". The war was also technically a British victory "because the United States failed to achieve the aims listed in its declaration of war".
A second minority view is that both the U. Risjord argues that the main motivation was restoring the nation's honour in the face of relentless British aggression toward American neutral rights on the high seas, and in the Western lands. The results in terms of honour satisfied the War Hawks. Most Republicans thought it did. In the beginning they called the contest a 'second war of independence', and while Britain's maritime practices never truly threatened the Republic's independence, the war did in a broad sense vindicate U.
But it ended in a draw on the battlefield. The lessons of the war were taken to heart. Anti-American feeling in Great Britain ran high for several years, but the United States were never again refused proper treatment as an independent power. American naval historian George C. Daughan argues that the US achieved enough of its war goals to claim a victorious result of the conflict, and subsequent impact it had on the negotiations in Ghent. Daughan uses official correspondences from President Madison to the delegates at Ghent strictly prohibiting negotiations with regards to maritime law, stating: .
Madison's latest dispatches [arrived July 25—27, ] permitted them [the delegates] to simply ignore the entire question of maritime rights. Free trade with liberated Europe had already been restored, and the Admiralty no longer needed impressment to man its warships. The president felt that with Europe at peace the issues of neutral trading rights and impressment could safely be set aside in the interests of obtaining peace Thus, from the start of the negotiations, the disagreements that started the war and sustained it were acknowledged by both parties to be no longer important.
The British permanently stopped impressing Americans, although they never publicly rescinding the possibility of resuming that practice. The US delegates at the meeting understood it to be a dead issue after the surrender of Napoleon. Henry Clay wrote to the delegates in October , "for in our own country, my dear sir, at last must we conquer the peace. You have not been able to carry Why Stipulate for uti possidetis? He cites the Edinburgh Review , a British newspaper, who had remained silent about the war with America for two years, wrote "the British government had embarked on a war of conquest, after the American government had dropped its maritime demands, and the British had lost.
It was folly to attempt to invade and conquer the United States. To do so would result in the same tragedy as the first war against them, and with the same result. Historians have different views on who won the War of , and there is an element of national bias to this. Only US historians follow the minority view that the US was the victorious party in the war. Historians generally agree that the real losers of the War of were the Indians called First Nations in Canada. Hickey says:. The big losers in the war were the Indians.
As a proportion of their population, they had suffered the heaviest casualties. Worse, they were left without any reliable European allies in North America The crushing defeats at the Thames and Horseshoe Bend left them at the mercy of the Americans, hastening their confinement to reservations and the decline of their traditional way of life.
Throughout the war the British had played on terror of the tomahawks and scalping knives of their Indian allies; it worked especially at Hull's surrender at Detroit. By Americans had killed Tecumseh and broken his coalition of tribes. Jackson then defeated the Creek in the Southwest. Historian John Sugden notes that in both theaters, the Indians' strength had been broken prior to the arrival of the major British forces in Notwithstanding the sympathy and support from commanders such as Brock, [k] Cochrane and Nicolls , the policymakers in London reneged in assisting the Indians, as making peace was a higher priority for the politicians.
At the peace conference the British demanded an independent Indian state in the Midwest, but, although the British and their Indian allies maintained control over the territories in question i. The withdrawal of British protection gave the Americans a free hand, which resulted in the removal of most of the tribes to Indian Territory present-day Oklahoma.
The Treaty of Ghent technically required the United States to cease hostilities and "forthwith to restore to such Tribes or Nations respectively all possessions, rights and privileges which they may have enjoyed, or been entitled to in "; the United States ignored this article of the treaty and proceeded to expand into this territory regardless; Britain was unwilling to provoke further war to enforce it.
A shocked Henry Goulburn , one of the British negotiators at Ghent, remarked:. Till I came here, I had no idea of the fixed determination which there is in the heart of every American to extirpate the Indians and appropriate their territory. About half of the Creek territory was ceded to the United States, with no payment made to the Creeks. This was, in theory, invalidated by Article 9 of the Treaty of Ghent.
Without this support, the Indians' lack of power was apparent and the stage was set for further incursions of territory by the United States in subsequent decades. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the British-American War from to For the Franco-Russian conflict, see French invasion of Russia. For other uses of this term, see War of disambiguation. Marines U. Navy and Revenue Cutter Service at war's start : Frigates: 12 Other vessels: 14 Privateers: ships  Indian allies: Choctaw unknown others .
Niagara Frontier. Old Northwest. Chesapeake campaign. Havre de Grace Craney Island St. Gulf Theater — Naval battles of the War of Main article: Origins of the War of See also: Canadian units of the War of This section contains weasel words : vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed. June Declaration of War left and Issac Brock 's Proclamation in response to it right. See also: Timeline of the War of This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. June Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Ohio in the War of Main article: Creek War. Main article: Treaty of Ghent. Main article: Results of the War of War of portal History of Canada portal. After this battle, most of the tribes abandoned their association with the British.
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Retrieved May 23, Benn, Carl The War of Oxford: Osprey Publishing. Benn, Carl; Marston, Daniel Bergquist, H. Jr, Business History. Berton, Pierre . Flames Across the Border: — Bickham, Troy July 15, Oxford University Press. War of Retrieved October 1, Black, Jeremy Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. Black, Jeremy August Naval History Magazine. Naval Institute. Retrieved March 22, Boswell, Randy December 9, Canwest News Service.
Boswell, Randy November 27, National Post. Bowler, R Arthur March American Review of Canadian Studies. Bowman, John Stewart; Greenblatt, Miriam Infobase Publishing. Brands, H. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times. Random House Digital. Braund, Kathryn E. Holland University of Nebraska Press. Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of University of Alabama Press.
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America — New York: Stein and Day. Calloway, Colin G. Michigan Historical Review. Carlisle, Rodney P. Geoffrey February 1, Manifest Destiny and the Expansion of America. Carroll, Francis M Toronto: University of Toronto. Retrieved January 11, Forts of the War of Bloomsbury Publishing. Churchill, Winston A History of the English-speaking Peoples volume 3.
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Archived from the original on July 2, Only peripherally affected by the nearly continuous colonial conflict between France and Britain, the HBC was able to establish a series of posts at strategic major rivers. These early posts, such as Fort Albany and York Factory, became the base for an extensive trade alliance with the Cree. In exchange for a wide variety of goods knives, kettles, beads, needles and blankets , the Cree traded vast amounts of animal furs from the Interior.
As the fur trade grew more lucrative, the Cree became a sort of intermediary between the Company and the Interior groups. They collected furs and pelts from other First Nations hunters and took them to the HBC posts on the coast. Because of the HBC 's monopoly over all trade on lands where the waters flowed into Hudson Bay, this trade relationship proved very profitable for both parties.
Not all parties, however, were happy with the Company's monopoly over some of the richest fur territories in North America. Following the transfer of New France to the British, French traders based in Montreal began to look for new sources of fur. Using the system of Interior trading posts and routes established by the French before , the Nor'Westers, as they were known, exploited the lands of the Upper Great Lakes by going out to trade and collect the furs themselves. In this way, they were able to redirect a large quantity of furs away from the Cree intermediaries and the HBC posts far to the north.
By going into the Interior and trading directly with First Nations hunters, the Northwest Company disrupted the long-standing relationship between the HBC and its Cree intermediaries. Faced with a sharp decline in fur stocks, the HBC governors in London responded by adopting their rival's tactics and abandoning the use of First Nations middlemen. During the first two decades of the 19th century, the HBC and Northwest Company pushed further down the North and South Saskatchewan, the Assiniboine and the Athabasca rivers among others in a race to get to First Nations hunters and their fur stocks.
This competition not only pitted the traders against each other, but First Nations also joined the fray in an attempt to secure the best prices and goods for their furs. In , after a bloody decade of violence and conflict on the Prairies, the two companies merged into a new and reinvigorated Hudson's Bay Company. The renewed HBC now stretched across the northern half of the continent and held a near total monopoly on trade from the Pacific Coast to Hudson Bay and down to Montreal. This long history of trade, commerce and competition brought about major changes for the First Nations populations of the northern Plains.
Above all, the European desire for fur radically transformed Indigenous economies. Rather than small-scale hunting for furs, First Nations were dedicating more and more time and resources to the seemingly endless European demand for animal pelts. The HBC 's desire for bison pelts and pemmican a type of preserved bison meat popular among traders and voyageurs transformed the Plains First Nations' buffalo hunt from one of subsistence to extensive commercial exploitation.
Trade patterns shifted towards the northern HBC posts and later to the Interior trading posts that were scattered across the Prairies.
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Traders who had to ship goods down the rivers to central depots such as Fort William hired First Nations men as labourers and porters. All of these activities contributed to a wide-scale diffusion of European goods, especially iron wares, knives and firearms, and to First Nations' dependence on these goods. A second major impact of the extended fur trade was increased contact between First Nations, traders and settlers, which would have a dramatic effect on First Nations over the long term.
The far-flung and isolated trading posts became gathering places for many groups—not only for trade with the HBC , but also for traders and First Nations themselves. This proximity to traders meant easy access to alcohol, which would have devastating effects on First Nations. Plagued by poor planning and the ongoing conflict between the HBC and the Northwest Company, this initial attempt to organize a colony in the Interior ended in failure. However, a few settlers and Company men did remain in the area and lived in the Interior year-round.
Eventually, these people helped form a more established community along the Red River. This close-knit community merged and adopted European and First Nations customs and lifestyles to meet the needs of the growing frontier settlement. As First Nations' military role in the colony waned, British administrators began to look at new approaches to their relationship. In fact, a new perspective was emerging throughout the British Empire about the role the British should play with respect to Indigenous peoples. This new perspective was based on the belief that British society and culture were superior; there was also a missionary fervour to bring British "civilization" to the Empire's Indigenous people.
In the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, the Indian Department became the vehicle for this new plan of "civilization. Indian agents accordingly began encouraging First Nations to abandon their traditional lifestyles and to adopt more agricultural and sedentary ways of life. As we now know, these policies were intended to assimilate First Nations into the larger British and Christian agrarian society. Starting in the s, colonial administrators undertook many initiatives aimed at "civilizing" First Nations. A group of Anishinaabe were encouraged to settle in a typical colonial-style village where they would be instructed in agriculture and encouraged to adopt Christianity and abandon hunting and fishing as a means of subsistence.
But because of poor management by the Indian Department, chronic underfunding, a general lack of understanding of First Nations cultures and values, and competition between various religious denominations, the Coldwater-Narrows experiment was short-lived and a dismal failure. Despite initial problems, the "civilization" program was to remain one of the central tenets of Indian policy and legislation for the next years.
One of the first such pieces of legislation was the Crown Lands Protection Act , passed in This Act made the government the guardian of all Crown lands, including Indian Reserve lands. The Act responded to the fact that settlement was occurring faster throughout the s than the colony could manage. Squatters were already settling on unoccupied territory, both Crown lands and Indian reserves.
The statute was thus the first to classify Indian lands as Crown lands to be protected by the Crown. The Act also served to secure First Nations interests by limiting settlers' access to reserves. More legislation protecting First Nations interests were passed in , limiting trespassing and encroachment on First Nations reserve lands. This legislation also provided a definition of an "Indian", exempted First Nations from taxation and protected them from creditors. In , the British administration introduced the Gradual Civilization Act.
This legislation offered 50 acres of land and monetary inducements to literate and debt-free First Nations individuals provided they abandoned their traditional lifestyle and adopted a "civilized" life as a "citizen". This Act transferred authority for Indian affairs to the colonies, enabling the British Crown to dispense with the last of its responsibilities towards its former allies. However, colonial responsibility for the management of "Indians and Indian lands" very soon became a federal responsibility with the creation of the new Dominion of Canada under the British North America Act.
The new nation continued the centralized approach to Indian affairs used by the British. The new Dominion was now responsible for addressing the needs and claims of First Nations from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains.
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On the West Coast, the relationship between European settlers and the region's First Nation inhabitants developed quite differently from that between settlers and First Nations in the Great Lakes basin. For nearly 50 years, the commercial aspirations of the Hudson's Bay Company had overshadowed settlement in the West. With a trade monopoly for the entire British half of the Oregon territory, the HBC was content to keep its diplomatic dealings with the West Coast First Nations restricted to commercial matters relating to the fur trade.
Under these treaties, the First Nations surrendered land required for settlement around various HBC posts in exchange for lump sum cash payments and goods, and the continued right to hunt and fish. The creation of the colony of British Columbia in and the rise of local control over colonial administration had a deep and lasting impact on First Nations in the region. Led by colonial surveyor and later lieutenant governor, Joseph Trutch, the colonial assembly slowly retracted the policies established by Douglas during the s. Treaty making did not continue after because of British Colombia's reluctance to recognize First Nations land rights, unlike all other British colonial jurisdictions.
This denial of Aboriginal land title persisted even after British Colombia joined Confederation and ran contrary to the Dominion's recognition of this title in other parts of the country. Between and , Canada undertook a series of land surrender treaties throughout its new territories. The objectives of these surrenders were to fulfil the requirements under the transfer; to secure Canadian sovereignty; to open the land for settlement and exploitation; and to reduce possible conflict between First Nations and settlers.
Adhering to the form of the Robinson Treaties , the Crown negotiated 11 new agreements covering Northern Ontario, the Prairies and the Mackenzie River up to the Arctic. As in the Robinson Treaties, these Numbered Treaties set aside reserve lands for First Nations and granted them annuities and the continued right to hunt and fish on unoccupied Crown lands in exchange for Aboriginal title. Also included in these new treaties were schools and teachers to educate First Nations children on reserves; farming, hunting and fishing equipment; and ceremonial and symbolic elements, such as medals, flags and clothing for chiefs.
First Nations were not opposed to this process and in many cases pressured Canada to undertake treaties in areas when it was not prepared to do so. First Nations signatories had their own reasons to enter into treaties with the Crown. On the whole, First Nations leaders were looking to the Crown for assistance in a time of great change and upheaval in their communities.
Facing disease epidemics and famine, First Nations leaders wanted the government to help care for their people. They also wanted assistance in adapting to a rapidly changing economy as buffalo herds neared extinction and the HBC shifted its operations to the North. Throughout the negotiations and in the text of the Numbered Treaties, First Nations were encouraged to settle on reserve lands in sedentary communities, take up agriculture and receive an education. The Treaty Commissioners explained that the reserves were to help First Nations adapt to a life without the buffalo hunt and that the government would help them make the transition to agriculture.
These 11 treaties included land surrenders on a massive scale. The Numbered Treaties can be divided into two groups: those for settlement in the South and those for access to natural resources in the North. Treaties 1 to 7 concluded between and , led the way to opening up the Northwest Territories to agricultural settlement and to the construction of a railway linking British Columbia to Ontario. These treaties also solidified Canada's claim on the lands north of the shared border with the United States. After a year gap, treaty making resumed between and to secure and facilitate access to the vast and rich natural resources of Northern Canada.
In , the government introduced another piece of legislation that would have deep and long-lasting impacts on First Nations across Canada. The Indian Act of was a consolidation of previous regulations pertaining to First Nations. The Act gave greater authority to the federal Department of Indian Affairs. The Department could now intervene in a wide variety of internal band issues and make sweeping policy decisions, such as determining who was an Indian.
Under the Act , the Department would also manage Indian lands, resources and moneys; control access to intoxicants; and promote "civilization. It would carry out this responsibility by acting as a "guardian" until such time as First Nations could fully integrate into Canadian society.
The Indian Act is one of the most frequently amended pieces of legislation in Canadian history. It was amended nearly every year between and The changes made were largely concerned with the "assimilation" and "civilization" of First Nations. The legislation became increasingly restrictive, imposing ever-greater controls on the lives of First Nations.
In the s, the government imposed a new system of band councils and governance, with the final authority resting with the Indian agent. The Act continued to push for the whole-scale abandonment of traditional ways of life, introducing outright bans on spiritual and religious ceremonies such as the potlatch and sun dance. The concept of enfranchisement the legal act of giving an individual the rights of citizenship, particularly the right to vote also remained a key element of government policy for decades to come.
As very few First Nations members opted to become enfranchised, the government amended the Act to enable automatic enfranchisement. An amendment, for example, declared that any First Nations member obtaining a university degree would be automatically enfranchised. An amendment empowered the government to order the enfranchisement of First Nations members meeting the qualifications set out in the Act , even without such a request from the individuals concerned. In , the government added yet another new restriction to the Act. In response to the Nisga'a pursuit of a land claim in British Columbia, the federal government passed an amendment forbidding fundraising by First Nations for the purpose of pursuing a land claim without the expressed permission of the Department of Indian Affairs.
This amendment effectively prevented First Nations from pursuing land claims of any kind. In , Indian Affairs policy on First Nations education focused on residential schools as a primary vehicle for "civilization" and "assimilation". Through these schools, First Nations children were to be educated in the same manner and on the same subjects as Canadian children reading, writing, arithmetic and English or French.
At the same time, the schools would force children to abandon their traditional languages, dress, religion and lifestyle. To accomplish these goals, a vast network of residential schools was established across Canada by the Catholic, United, Anglican and Presbyterian churches in partnership with the federal government.
More than , Aboriginal children attended residential schools between and Despite decades of difficult and painful living conditions for First Nations under the restrictive regulations of the Indian Act , many First Nations answered the call to arms during both World Wars and the Korean War. By the late s, social and political changes were underway that would mark the start of a new era for First Nations in Canada.
Several First Nations leaders emerged, many of them drawing attention to the fact that thousands of their people had fought for their country in both World Wars. First Nations across the country began to create provincially based organizations that forcefully expressed their peoples' desire for equality with other Canadians, while maintaining their cultural heritage.
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In , a special joint parliamentary committee of the Senate and the House of Commons undertook a broad review of Canada's policies and management of Indian affairs. For three years, the committee received briefs and representations from First Nations, missionaries, school teachers and federal government administrators. These hearings brought to light the actual impact of Canada's assimilation policies on the lives and well-being of First Nations. The committee hearings were one of the first occasions at which First Nations leaders and Elders were able to address parliamentarians directly instead of through the Department of Indian Affairs.
First Nations largely rejected the idea of cultural assimilation into Canadian society. In particular, they spoke out against the enforced enfranchisement provisions of the Indian Act and the extent of the powers that the government exercised over their daily lives. Many groups asked that these "wide and discretionary" powers be vested in First Nations chiefs and councillors on reserves so that they themselves could determine the criteria for band membership and manage their own funds and reserve lands.
While the joint committee did not recommend a full dismantling of the Indian Act and its assimilationist policies, it did recommend that unilateral and mandatory elements of the Act be scaled back or revised. The committee also recommended that a Claims Commission be established to hear problems arising from the fulfilment of treaties. Despite the committee's recommendations, amendments to the Indian Act in did not bring about sweeping changes to the government's Indian policy, nor did it differ greatly from previous legislation.
Contentious elements of the Act such as the involuntary enfranchisement clause were repealed, as were the provisions that determined Indian status. However, the amendments did introduce some changes. For example, sections of the Act banning the potlatch and other traditional ceremonies, as well as a ban on fundraising to pursue land claims, were repealed.
Bands were also given more control over the administration of their communities and over the use of band funds and revenues. National pension benefits and other health and welfare benefits were to be extended to First Nations. While the Act did limit some of the authority of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development over individual bands, the government continued to exercise considerable powers over the lives of First Nations. Despite the fact that the Indian Act still limited First Nations' control over their own affairs, by social and economic conditions on reserve began to improve.
That year First Nations were at long last extended the right to vote in federal elections, another recommendation of the joint committee. First Nations veterans played a big role in this important advance, pointing out that, despite having fought for Canada in two World Wars, they were still deprived the right to vote. Other improvements for First Nations included the provision of better healthcare services in the mids.
With these improvements, the Status Indian population increased rapidly. In addition, many more First Nations children had access to schooling, including secondary and post-secondary education. In general, however, the living conditions of First Nations still fell far short of the standards of other Canadians.
In , the government began to examine a radically new approach to its Indian policy. This approach was based on the view that all Canadians held the same rights regardless of ethnicity, language or history. Arguing that the "special status" of First Nations and Inuit had put them at a disadvantage, and that both of these groups should be fully integrated into Canadian society, the government tabled a policy paper commonly known as the White Paper.
This paper called for a repeal of the Indian Act , an end to federal responsibility for First Nations and termination of special status. It also called for the decentralization of Indian affairs to provincial governments, which would then administer services for First Nations. The White Paper further recommended that an equitable way be found to bring an end to treaties.
In this way, the government hoped to abolish what it saw as a false separation between First Nations and the rest of Canadian society. First Nations overwhelmingly rejected the White Paper. The complete lack of consultation with the people who would be directly affected—First Nations themselves—was central to their criticism. It became apparent that while many people regarded the Indian Act as paternalistic and coercive, the Act nevertheless protected special Aboriginal status within Confederation and therefore specific rights. In the face of such strong negative reaction not only from First Nations, but also from the general public, the government withdrew the White Paper in The government's attempt to change its relationship with First Nations created a new form of Aboriginal nationalism.
First Nations leaders from across the country united in new associations and organizations determined to protect and promote their peoples' rights and interests. These organizations proposed their own policy alternatives. The Indian Association of Alberta, for example, argued in a paper entitled Citizens Plus that Aboriginal peoples held rights and benefits that other Canadians did not. Rallying around this concept, First Nations leaders argued that their people were entitled to all the benefits of Canadian citizenship, in addition to special rights deriving from their unique and historical relationship with the Crown.
The federal government slowly began to change its approach and scale back its paternalistic presence in the lives of First Nation, for example, by withdrawing all Indian agents from reserves. The government also began to fund Aboriginal political organizations. This funding allowed these groups to focus on the need for full recognition of their Aboriginal rights and the renegotiation of existing treaties.
As First Nations organizations such as the National Indian Brotherhood later the Assembly of First Nations increasingly challenged the government's Indian policy, the courts also began to weigh in on the issue. In the early s, three landmark court decisions brought about an important shift in the recognition of the rights of First Nations in Canada. In Northern Quebec, a proposed hydro-electric project in the James Bay region announced in became a focal point for Cree and Inuit protests.
Arguing that the lands of Northern Quebec were not covered by any existing treaties and that they still held Aboriginal rights over those lands, the Cree Nation and Inuit of Northern Quebec filed for an injunction to block the project until their claim of rights and title was addressed. In an unprecedented decision in Canadian law, in the Superior Court of Quebec ruled in favour of the Cree and Inuit, deciding that there remained an unfulfilled obligation to resolve Aboriginal title in Northern Quebec.
That same year, the courts once again brought the issue of First Nations claims under public scrutiny. After decades of persistence, the Nisga'a people in British Columbia succeeded in bringing their case before the Supreme Court of Canada. In their decision in the Calder case , six of the seven Supreme Court justices ruled in favour of the Nisga'a, confirming the legality of Aboriginal title. In a third court case in , the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories ruled in what has become known as the Paulette Caveat that Canada had not fulfilled its obligations under the terms of Treaties 8 and 11 in the Territories.
As such, Aboriginal rights and title could not be fully relinquished to the Crown. The Department's new Comprehensive Claims Policy , the aim of which was to settle land claims through a negotiated process, was announced in August Through this new policy, Aboriginal rights and title would be transferred to the Crown by an agreement that guaranteed defined rights and benefits for the signatories i. The first agreement under this new policy was with the Cree and Inuit of Northern Quebec.
Soon after the James Bay ruling, the Cree, Inuit and the federal and Quebec governments began negotiations in an attempt to settle Aboriginal claims and allow the hydro-electric development project to resume. The Cree and Inuit also received tracts of community lands with exclusive hunting and trapping rights, the establishment of a new system of local government on lands set aside for their use, and First Nations control over their education and health authorities. In addition, the agreement set out measures relating to policing and the administration of justice, continuing federal and provincial benefits, and special social and economic development measures.
Since , the Comprehensive Claims Policy has been modified in response to Aboriginal concerns and positions. Most notably, new options were added in relating to the transfer of rights and title as well as a broader scope of rights and other issues. A cap on the number of ongoing negotiations was lifted in The negotiation of comprehensive claims is a long and painstaking process, requiring many years to complete.
From to , there were 22 comprehensive claims agreements, commonly known as "modern treaties," concluded across Northern Quebec, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and British Columbia. Two of the most important agreements concluded are the Nunavut and Nisga'a agreements. Signed in , the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was the first treaty with Inuit in Canada and laid the groundwork for the creation of the Territory of Nunavut on April 1st, One year earlier in British Columbia, after over a century of claims and 24 years of negotiation, the Nisga'a Agreement was ratified by the Nisga'a, Canada and the province of British Columbia.
While the idea of addressing specific First Nations claims was first proposed in the joint committee report, it was not acted upon until From this point forward the Comprehensive Claims Policy would deal with issues stemming from claims to Aboriginal title, whereas the Specific Claims Policy addressed claims relating to the failure to fulfill any "lawful obligations" flowing from the Indian Act or existing treaties. To accompany the policy, the Office of Native Claims was created to guide claims through the process. However, the claims process proved difficult and cumbersome, leading many First Nations to complain it was ineffective and inefficient.
After amendments to the policy in the mids and again in the early s, the government created the Indian Specific Claims Commission to review AANDC 's decisions regarding claims and to make recommendations. While these changes to the policy did allow for more claims to be addressed, the complexity, volume and diversity of the claims were increasingly difficult to manage. Lengthy delays were common. In , the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that the government establish a dedicated fund for the payment of specific claims settlements and an independent body with a mandate and power to resolve specific claims.
As a result, in the Specific Claims Tribunal Act created an independent adjudicative tribunal with the authority to make binding decisions on the validity of claims and on compensation. The federal government entered into constitutional discussions with provincial premiers between and to reform and repatriate the Constitution.
Aboriginal political organizations tried unsuccessfully to get a seat at the negotiations table. When a constitutional proposal was announced, Aboriginal and treaty rights were excluded. At conferences held between and , attempts were made to define "existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. Given this lack of consensus on a clear definition of "existing Aboriginal and treaty rights," responsibility has fallen to the courts to define the extent and scope of these rights and to direct government policies and programs so that they respect these rights and prevent any infringement of them.
Since the mids, government policy had dictated that First Nations women automatically lost their Indian "status" if they married non-Aboriginal men. This automatic enfranchisement was entrenched in successive legislation for more than a century. For decades, many First Nations members, especially women, criticized this section of the Indian Act as blatant discrimination. By the s, criticism of this aspect of the Act was widespread throughout Canadian society. Spurred by a series of s court challenges attacking the legality of this loss of status for First Nations women, the government consulted with First Nations leaders across the country on how best to amend the Act.
Parliament passed Bill C in This amendment to the Indian Act removed discriminatory provisions, eliminated the links between marriage and status, gave individual bands greater control in determining their own membership, and defined two new categories of Indian status. Through this amendment, some 60, persons regained their lost status. In addition, Bill C distinguished between band membership and Indian status.
While the government would continue to determine status, bands were given complete control over membership lists. The need to deal with the long-standing grievances of First Nations became more urgent following the events at Oka, Quebec, in the summer of A conflict that would grab near-immediate national attention was sparked on July 11th of that year when the Quebec Provincial Police tried to dismantle a roadblock that had been set up outside Montreal in mid-March by a group of Mohawks from Kanesatake.
This First Nation community had erected the roadblock to prevent the nearby town of Oka from expanding a golf course onto sacred Mohawk lands. One police officer was killed during the raid. For 78 days, armed Mohawk warriors faced off against the Quebec Provincial Police, and later the Canadian Armed Forces, before voluntarily withdrawing from their barricade after an agreement was reached between all parties. Following what became known as the Oka Crisis, First Nations leaders and political commentators across the country debated the impact of the standoff.
Supporters of the Mohawk Warriors Society argued that the conflict raised the profile of Aboriginal issues in a way that Aboriginal leaders had been unable to do previously. However, others argued that any gains made were offset by increased racism toward Aboriginal peoples, a loss of credibility for the Aboriginal rights movement and rising militancy among discontented Aboriginal youth. In an attempt to address the concerns of First Nations leaders, and mere days before the conclusion of the Oka Crisis, the government announced a new agenda to improve its relationship with First Nations.
The new measures included progress on land claim settlements, the creation of the Indian Specific Claims Commission, improved living conditions, an improved federal relationship with Aboriginal peoples and a review of the role of Aboriginal peoples in Canadian society.
The Commission's mandate was to propose specific solutions to issues that had long plagued the relationship between Aboriginal peoples, the government and Canadian society as a whole. The Commission published its final report in , which included recommendations covering a wide range of Aboriginal issues. The RCAP report is a significant body of work that has been widely used to inform public debate and policy making. In , in response to First Nations' demands for greater autonomy, the House of Commons established a parliamentary committee the Penner Committee to investigate Aboriginal self-government.
Following its study, the committee stated in its report that this right was inherent to all First Nations and should be entrenched in the Constitution alongside Aboriginal and treaty rights. In , the government launched the Inherent Right Policy to negotiate practical arrangements with Aboriginal groups to make a return to self-government a reality. This process involved extensive consultations with Aboriginal leaders at the local, regional and national levels, and took the position that an inherent right of Aboriginal self-government already existed within the Constitution.
Accordingly, new self-government agreements would then be partnerships between Aboriginal peoples and the federal government to implement that right. The policy also recognized that no single form of government was applicable to all Aboriginal communities. Self-government arrangements would therefore take many forms based upon the particular historical, cultural, political and economic circumstances of each respective Aboriginal group.
Since the introduction of the policy, there have been 17 self-government agreements completed, many of which are part of larger Comprehensive Claims agreements. The growing recognition of Aboriginal rights in Canadian law led to calls for greater recognition of the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canadian society. Pressure for a national day of recognition continued to grow during the following decade as new ways were sought to bridge the divide between Aboriginal peoples and Canadians, especially in the wake of the Oka Crisis.
In , the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the designation of a "National First Peoples Day" as a way to focus attention on the history, achievements and contributions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. This message was repeated later that year during the Sacred Assembly, a national conference chaired by Elijah Harper, which called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal peoples. On June 13, , after considerable consultation with Aboriginal organisations, June 21st was officially declared National Aboriginal Day. Since its inauguration, National Aboriginal Day has become part of the annual nationwide Celebrate Canada!
June 21st was chosen because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice and because many Aboriginal groups mark this day as a time to celebrate their heritage. As the government continued to transfer control of local affairs to individual First Nations, education also began to be decentralized. New education policies began to emerge in the s, with First Nations developing education systems that incorporated both the fundamental elements of a modern curriculum, as well as aspects of their respective traditions, languages and cultures.
Special grants for training First Nations teachers, traditional language classes and lessons in First Nations history and culture helped strengthen these new education systems. With these advances, the residential school system increasingly fell out of favour and was slowly phased out. The final residential school, located in Saskatchewan, was closed in While First Nations took charge of educating their children, the legacy of the residential school system became increasingly apparent.
More and more stories surfaced regarding abuse and mistreatment of children by school administrators and teachers. In , the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs leader Phil Fontaine called on the government and the churches involved with residential schools to acknowledge and address the decades of abuse and mistreatment that occurred at these institutions. In its final report, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples noted the deep and lasting negative impacts this policy had on those who attended the residential schools, as well as their families, communities and cultures. As claims and litigation against the government and churches continued to mount, the first steps toward reconciliation began in the s.
The various churches involved in running these institutions were the first to offer their apologies to residential school survivors. In , the government also acknowledged its role in the abuse and mistreatment of Aboriginal students during their time at residential schools. The settlement included a common experience payment, an independent assessment process, commemoration activities, measures to support healing and the creation of an Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission to act as an independent body and to provide a safe and culturally appropriate place for former students and others affected by the residential school system to share their experiences.
The Government of Canada offered an historic formal apology on June 11, , to all former students of residential schools and asked their forgiveness for the suffering they experienced and for the impact the schools had on Aboriginal cultures, heritage and languages.