Check out this fascinating item from NPR on the differences between teaching the War of 1812 in U.S. schools and teaching it in Canada. A teacher in Utah spends “a couple of days” on the war, with doses of the national anthem and Johnny Horton. A teacher in Ontario, by contrast, devotes “three to four weeks” to it.
Three to four weeks! As a pre-Civil War kind of guy, I’d love to have that much time for early American subjects in my survey classes.
Canadian units on the war aren’t just longer. They’re qualitatively different, full of important victories and heroic characters like Laura Secord. You’ve never heard of Laura Secord? Don’t sweat it; neither had I, and I’m supposed to have a master’s degree in this kind of stuff.
Here are a few other items from around the Interwebs on the War of 1812 and the way we remember it—or fail to:
- One reason our memory is selective might be because America didn’t come out of the war’s first two years looking particularly good.
- Donald Hickey is editing a series of books on the war for John Hopkins University Press.
- Baltimore kicked off the bicentennial with maritime festivities…
- …and hosted a ceremony where reps from the U.S., Britain, and Canada buried the hatchet. I’m still not forgiving them for Russell Brand.
- Finally, a Pennsylvania schoolteacher and his students suggest that we should re-christen the conflict the “Second War of Independence.” Not bad, but maybe we could add a little Hollywood-style pizzazz. I’m thinking WI:2 or War of Independence 2: War Harder. Too bad The Empire Strikes Back is already taken.