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Old November 6th, 2012, 02:56 PM   #1

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Why didn't Britain fight harder for Canada?


I just got through reading the Mexican American war thread and it brought back a question I always wondered. Why didn't Britain do more to extend their Canadian territories? Just one example I pulled off of Wikipedia:

"During the
American_Revolutionary_War American_Revolutionary_War
, Detroit was an important British supply center. Most of the inhabitants were French-Canadians or Native Americans, many of whom had been allied with the French. Because of imprecise cartography and unclear language defining the boundaries in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the British retained control of Detroit and Michigan after the
American_Revolution American_Revolution
. When Quebec split into Lower and Upper Canada in 1790, Michigan was part of Kent County, Upper Canada. It held its first democratic elections in August 1792 to send delegates to the new provincial parliament at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake)."

So what I ask is why would they give up a territory like Michigan to their enemies? Furthermore, their negotiations later in in the 1800's gave the US what is now Oregon and Washington state in exchange for what is now British Columbia. Today Oregon and Washington have more than double the population of British Columbia, and most of the population of British Columbia hugs the US border and the area around Vancouver. It seems like Britain gave the US the better part of these deals. This seems strange because of the superiority of contemporary British power in comparison to the contemporary US. Why did they do this? What are your thoughts?
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Old November 6th, 2012, 03:00 PM   #2

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Beats me, we should never have given away Alaska or Hawaii either.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 03:01 PM   #3

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Beats me, we should never have given away Alaska or Hawaii either.

Hawaii? just think of the Tight head props!!! and the excuse fot a tour!!
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Old November 6th, 2012, 03:07 PM   #4

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Originally Posted by Mike Lynch View Post
Why did they do this? What are your thoughts?
Interesting question. My guess: they already had their hands full elsewhere and didn't want to fight yet another costly war over here.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 04:39 PM   #5

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I just don't see why they wouldn't want to secure a stronger Canada. The land the gave up to the US would make a big difference in Canada's contribution to the Empire. If I add the populations of the areas given up the US to Canada, Canada could have about double the population today!
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Old November 6th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #6

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The Brits had planned to fight hard for Canada. But then they heard the Canadian accent...

Click the image to open in full size.

...and changed their minds.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 08:18 PM   #7

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The Brits had planned to fight hard for Canada. But then they heard the Canadian accent...

Click the image to open in full size.

...and changed their minds.


I probably had to do with the British wanting to be on decent terms with the US trading wise. The British profited from investments in the US.

Besides, when it came to the Oregon country, the line was already there. In fact, the US wanted to extend the line through Vancouver Island.

Also, if you were a British government officer, would you want a pissed off country to the south with the capability of sending very large numbers of settlers into your land?

Alaska was probably just seen as useless and more empty space to have to manage.

Hawaii I have no idea. Maybe it just didn't seem worth the effort to the British government?
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Old November 6th, 2012, 08:22 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by Mike Lynch View Post
I just don't see why they wouldn't want to secure a stronger Canada. The land the gave up to the US would make a big difference in Canada's contribution to the Empire. If I add the populations of the areas given up the US to Canada, Canada could have about double the population today!
That's going under the assumption Migration (External or Internal) into those states would stay constant despite the nation being different. I don't think its a safe assumption at all. For example, who the hell would live in Michigan if it wasn't for the Auto industry?

Last edited by Patton; November 6th, 2012 at 09:23 PM.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 08:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lynch View Post
I just got through reading the Mexican American war thread and it brought back a question I always wondered. Why didn't Britain do more to extend their Canadian territories? Just one example I pulled off of Wikipedia:

"During the American Revolutionary War, Detroit was an important British supply center. Most of the inhabitants were French-Canadians or Native Americans, many of whom had been allied with the French. Because of imprecise cartography and unclear language defining the boundaries in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the British retained control of Detroit and Michigan after the American Revolution. When Quebec split into Lower and Upper Canada in 1790, Michigan was part of Kent County, Upper Canada. It held its first democratic elections in August 1792 to send delegates to the new provincial parliament at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake)."

So what I ask is why would they give up a territory like Michigan to their enemies? Furthermore, their negotiations later in in the 1800's gave the US what is now Oregon and Washington state in exchange for what is now British Columbia. Today Oregon and Washington have more than double the population of British Columbia, and most of the population of British Columbia hugs the US border and the area around Vancouver. It seems like Britain gave the US the better part of these deals. This seems strange because of the superiority of contemporary British power in comparison to the contemporary US. Why did they do this? What are your thoughts?
Negotiations are called so for a reason; regularly both sides ought to renounce to some of their respective pretensions.

AFAIK such was the case of these negotiations.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 01:21 AM   #10

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Even before the end of the AWI the ruling elite in Britain ( who were not always the Government) had wanted some form of conciliation. The entire history of relations thereafter was making compromises with the Americans, even when their provocations were insuffarable. We can see that in the Anti-slavery patrols from 1807 where as a sop to the US, the only ships that the RN did not stop and search were American ones. The war of 1812 could have been a lot more painful for the United States, but the British side showed enormous restraint and later in the 19thC Seward's constant mouthing off and threats of war was treated as an eccentricity.
Well into the 20th C Britain bent over backwards to keep American governments "sweet" with concession after concession. The reasons are simple. First as colonies and then as an independent country the USA was the biggest single market for Britain, the most profitable destination for capital and most of the time the most reliable source of cheap food.
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