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Redcoats and Rebels

December 12th, 2011
Judith · Staff Recommendations

Most Americans would agree that Great Britain and the United States of America have had an especially close relationship and indeed enjoy a “special relationship.” However, as we all know the United States won its independence from Great Britain in 1783 after years of fighting for its independence. What many of us probably do not know is that there were many Americans, probably a third of the population who supported King George III rather than George Washington. Their story is told in: Tories by Thomas B. Allen. Redcoats and Rebels by by Christopher Hibbert describes the American Revolution through British eyes.

Other books about the American Revolution are: American Insurgents, American Patriots by T. H. Breen and The Real History of the American Revolution by Alan Axelrod.

The last time the United States of American and Great Britain went to war was nearly 200 years ago when President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812. The main reasons for the United States declaring war against Great Britain were two: (1) the impressment of American sailors by the Royal Navy. “Impressment” was the common practice of the Royal Navy to board an American vessel and remove sailors who were born in Great Britain but had taken an oath of loyalty to the United States of America and (2) and the desire of many in the United States to annex Canada. However, there were many Americans who were opposed to the War of 1812. Like the American Revolution, the War of 1812 was almost a civil war.

The Civil War of 1812 by Alan Taylor points out that many people in the new United States thought that Canadians (many who were born in the United States) would welcome the American invaders as liberators; this did not happen. The irony of the War of 1812 was that the Battle of New Orleans, the greatest battle won by the American army took place after peace was signed. Another good book on the War of 1812 is 1812: The War That Forged A Nation by Walter R. Borneman.

All the above books are available at both the Harrison and the West Harrison Public Libraries with the exception of Redcoats and Rebels which is only available at West Harrison.

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