Plunder, Profit, and Paroles

Plunder, Profit, and Paroles

A Social History of the War of 1812 in Upper Canada

eBook - 1994
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McGill Queens Univ Pr
The War of 1812 is often credited with having aroused fierce anti-American sentiment among Upper Canadians, creating a unity which ensured continued loyalty to Britain and played an important role in the defence of the colony. It is also claimed that all of Upper Canada benefited from British military spending, setting the province on a course towards prosperity. In this revisionist history George Sheppard challenges these assumptions.

Sheppard demonstrates that the colony was a fragmented and pluralistic community before the war and remained so after it. Upper Canadians were divided by racial, religious, linguistic, and class differences and the majority of settlers had no strong ties to either the United States or Britain, with most men avoiding military service during the war. Reviewing the claims submitted for damages attributed to the fighting, he argues that British forces as well as enemy troops were responsible for widespread destruction of private property and concludes that this explains why there was little increase in anti-American feeling after the war. Much of the wartime damage occurred in areas west of York (now Toronto). This was the cause of grievances harboured by settlers in the western part of Upper Canada against their eastern counterparts long after the war had ended. As well, some Upper Canadians profited from wartime activities while others suffered greatly. Only later, in the 1840s when these issues had faded from memory, did Canadians begin to create a favourable version of wartime events. Using garrison records, muster rolls, diaries, newspapers, and damage claims registered after the war, the author delves beyond the rhetoric of wartime loyalties and reveals how the legacy of war complicated colonial politics.

Book News
A revisionist historical account of the war of 1812 in Upper Canada. Sheppard (History, McMaster U.) refutes the traditional view that the war unified Upper Canadians in British loyalty or that the colony benefited from British military spending which set it on an economic course toward prosperity. Demonstrates the pluralistic and fragmented nature of the area before and after the war. Highly scholarly work uses garrison records, muster rolls, diaries, newspapers, and damage claims in its research. Detailed notes and bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Publisher: Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1994
ISBN: 0773511377
Characteristics: x, 334 p. : ill., maps, port
Additional Contributors: ProQuest (Firm)


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Oct 10, 2016

A fascinating book, showing how the citizens of Upper Canada refused to assist the British army in fighting the American invaders, contrary to the myth that the elite promoted for so long in an effort to show the superiority of men who lived under authoritarian rule over men who lived in a democracy.

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