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The War of 1812

We’ve been hearing a lot about the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in these parts. And the Georgia Center for the Book has done its share of programming examining various impacts of the war beyond the battlefield maneuverings. But we’re coming up on another war commemoration, and hardly anyone seems to be talking about it.

It’s the bicentennial observance of the War of 1812, a war that most people these days remember only sketchily if at all. There was that thing about the British burning the White House — that happened in 1814 –and Dolley Madison saving some paintings from the torch, and then we pretty much skip to Andrew Jackson defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans (that was 1815). Here in Georgia, not a whole lot happened in those years that will be remembered, which is probably why the state doesn’t have any formal plans for an observance that I could locate.

The standard history of Georgia by Kenneth Coleman confirms that this state was not in the center of the action. “Georgia’s defense efforts tended to be more talk than reality,” Coleman writes. Most Georgians detested the British and supported the war, and there was some movement of the state militia here and there — mostly to Spanish-held coastal Florida — but little was actually accomplished. There had been some Indian incursions on the southern border, but those really didn’t come to a head until several years later. In short, it would probably be pretty hard to come up with a centerpiece for celebrating the War of 1812 in Georgia.

But then, we’re not alone. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of hoopla even in some areas where there was fighting. The New York Times reported recently that the state of New York is largely indifferent to the bicentennial, and in places farther to the north the commemorations seems muted. The Canadian government, however, has earmarked $28 million to support as many as 100 battle re-enactments, according to the Times, so if you head across the border you may find some activities.

For Georgia, the next several years are much more likely to be recalled for the Civil War events. There are and will be a number of books published about the Civil War , but I have been unable to find anything new coming about the War of 1812 in this part of the country. So please feel free to fashion your own celebration or whatever. I’m a little shy on suggestions, though it seems pretty certain there are some disenchanted voters who think the torch ought to be put to the White House and Congress once again.

2 Responses to “The War of 1812”

  1. Navy1812 Says:

    For all those interested in some of the commemorations plans for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, please check out the Navy’s commemoration activities. The Navy is working in partnership with local governments and organizations to commemorate the anniversary of the war that proved how crucial a strong Navy would be to our country.
    Get connected: http://www.facebook.com/Navy1812
    http://www.twitter.com/Navy1812

  2. Diane Garey Says:

    The website http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/ has an extensive list of resources about the War of 1812, including a two-hour documentary film.

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