What caused the US to lose interest in expanding into Canada?

Futurist

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#1
What caused the US to lose interest in expanding into Canada after 1815? In the War of 1812, the US aimed to conquer some or all of Canada, but after the end of this war (this war ended in a draw), the US lost interest in expanding into Canada. Initially, this might have made sense due to Britain being more powerful than the US was, but as the 19th century went on, the US gradually became much more powerful (and especially so in terms of its power potential). In spite of this, though, the US never reacquired a desire to conquer Canada. The US could have probably conquered Canada in the 1910s had it allied with the Central Powers in WWI, but the US chose not to do this.

What exactly caused the US to lose interest in expanding into Canada without ever regaining this interest even after the US became much more powerful?
 
Apr 2017
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U.S.A.
#2
Mostly because war with Britain wasn't worth it, also the Canadians themselves didn't want to join America. Britain was one of the most powerful states in the world with the best ability to project force, going to war with them wasn't wise. Also Britain was one of the US's biggest trade partners, war wouldn't help that.
Interestingly after the civil war when the US was demanding compensation from Britain for supporting the CSA, one of the demands suggested by a US diplomat was Canada (and all of Britain's north American colonies).
Canada gained home rule in 1910, so if America sided with the central powers it would be against Canada and not so much Britain.
 

redcoat

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Nov 2010
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#3
What exactly caused the US to lose interest in expanding into Canada without ever regaining this interest even after the US became much more powerful?
In 1812-15 even with Britain involved in a major war in Europe all the invasion attempts ended in complete failure, and for the rest of the 19th century while the US grew in power Britain was still too powerful for them to seriously consider it.
Canada gained home rule in 1910, so if America sided with the central powers it would be against Canada and not so much Britain.
While Canada gained a measure of home rule in 1910, they were still considered full British citizens and any attack would have been met with a full blooded response from Britain and her Empire
 
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Futurist

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#4
In 1812-15 even with Britain involved in a major war in Europe all the invasion attempts ended in complete failure, and for the rest of the 19th century while the US grew in power Britain was still too powerful for them to seriously consider it.
Didn't the first invasion attempt in 1812 end in failure in large part because three US armies invaded Canada separately without any form of coordination with each other?

Also, while Britain was still very strong for most of the 19th century, didn't this begin to change at the very end of the 19th century and/or at the start of the 20th century? Indeed, this fact combined with the fact that Britain was preoccupied elsewhere during WWI made WWI a golden time period for the US to ally with the Central Powers and to conquer Canada if it would have so desired.
 

Futurist

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#5
Mostly because war with Britain wasn't worth it, also the Canadians themselves didn't want to join America. Britain was one of the most powerful states in the world with the best ability to project force, going to war with them wasn't wise. Also Britain was one of the US's biggest trade partners, war wouldn't help that.
So, you're saying that the US economy would have been severely hurt by the loss of British trade had the US conquered Canada and that even after the end of a hypothetical war with Britain, Britain would be unwilling to reestablish significant trade relations with the US?

Also, couldn't the Canadians have embraced US rule after the fact if they would have been conquered?

As for Britain's strength, Yes, it was certainly a huge issue for most of the 19th century, but this balance might have began to significantly change in favor of the US in the very late 1800s and/or early 1900s. Indeed, World War I was a golden opportunity for the US to ally with the Central Powers and conquer Canada.

Interestingly after the civil war when the US was demanding compensation from Britain for supporting the CSA, one of the demands suggested by a US diplomat was Canada (and all of Britain's north American colonies).
And Britain laughed off this demand?

Canada gained home rule in 1910, so if America sided with the central powers it would be against Canada and not so much Britain.
It wouldn't have made a difference since Canada was also fighting in WWI on the Entente side and since Britain would have undoubtedly tried to protect Canada if the US would have invaded it during WWI.
 
Apr 2017
1,080
U.S.A.
#6
So, you're saying that the US economy would have been severely hurt by the loss of British trade had the US conquered Canada and that even after the end of a hypothetical war with Britain, Britain would be unwilling to reestablish significant trade relations with the US?

Also, couldn't the Canadians have embraced US rule after the fact if they would have been conquered?

As for Britain's strength, Yes, it was certainly a huge issue for most of the 19th century, but this balance might have began to significantly change in favor of the US in the very late 1800s and/or early 1900s. Indeed, World War I was a golden opportunity for the US to ally with the Central Powers and conquer Canada.

And Britain laughed off this demand?

It wouldn't have made a difference since Canada was also fighting in WWI on the Entente side and since Britain would have undoubtedly tried to protect Canada if the US would have invaded it during WWI.
Pretty much, yeah.
Maybe, the main point is they would fight to resist American occupation.
The US before ww1 had an army smaller than Bulgaria. Also by 1914 the US had an understanding with Britain/Canada; Germany had its own plans for the new world that would clash with America's. Germany wanted to diminish American influence in the western hemisphere.
This demand wasn't made, it was just considered. Eventually they settled on financial compensation.
 
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redcoat

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#7
Didn't the first invasion attempt in 1812 end in failure in large part because three US armies invaded Canada separately without any form of coordination with each other?
That was just the first attempts, there were several more, the last one ended at Lundys Lane in 1814 when the US forces realised after a bloody inconclusive battle that they were not strong enough to force the issue and retreated back to their own border

Also, while Britain was still very strong for most of the 19th century, didn't this begin to change at the very end of the 19th century and/or at the start of the 20th century? Indeed, this fact combined with the fact that Britain was preoccupied elsewhere during WWI made WWI a golden time period for the US to ally with the Central Powers and to conquer Canada if it would have so desired.
There was not the political will in the US by this time, it was clear that Canada had by now formed its own national identity and would not willingly accept US rule, and Britain was still powerful enough to make it more trouble than it was worth to the USA.
 
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Futurist

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#8
That was just the first attempts, there were several more, the last one ended at Lundys Lane in 1814 when the US forces realised after a bloody inconclusive battle that they were not strong enough to force the issue and retreated back to their own border
Thanks.

There was not the political will in the US by this time, it was clear that Canada had by now formed its own national identity and would not willingly accept US rule,
By when did Canada form its own national identity?

Also, do you think that, had Canada been successfully conquered by the US during WWI, there would have been a huge separatist push there even a century later?

and Britain was still powerful enough to make it more trouble than it was worth to the USA.
Even while Britain was busy fighting the Central Powers in Europe and in the Middle East?
 

Futurist

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Pretty much, yeah.
Maybe, the main point is they would fight to resist American occupation.
The US was able to successfully crush a Filipino insurgency, though; couldn't it have done the same with a Canadian insurgency?

The US before ww1 had an army smaller than Bulgaria.
Yes, but it had the potential to be much larger due to the US's huge industrial might. Industrial might could easily be converted into military might.

Also by 1914 the US had an understanding with Britain/Canada; Germany had its own plans for the new world that would clash with America's. Germany wanted to diminish American influence in the western hemisphere.
Germany would have easily cancelled these plans in exchange for a US alliance, no?

This demand wasn't made, it was just considered. Eventually they settled on financial compensation.
OK.
 
Feb 2019
307
Serbia
#10
I think the last instance of plans to fight Britain and as such fight in Canada was War Plan Red, so in the 1920s. IIRC they also had plans for Canada as late as the 1890s. In the 1990s with the Canadian referendum for Quebec independence (Which fortunately failed.) there were talks in Saskatchewan that they either team up with British Columbia and Alberta and leave Canada, to declare independence on their own or to get annexed by the USA. The only real attempt at getting Canada was in 1812 and while the USA actually had the upper hand at first with numerical superiority and super-frigates outmatching the Royal Navy squadrons they still failed. By 1814 with the RN reinforced, the USN blockaded and the war on land reaching more or less of a stalemate with the British launching raids including the one on Washington USA lost all hopes of actually winning, let alone taking Canada.

By when did Canada form its own national identity?

Also, do you think that, had Canada been successfully conquered by the US during WWI, there would have been a huge separatist push there even a century later?
The first instance of Canadian identity seems to come from the War of 1812, after which the Canadians began to think of themselves as more than just colonists of Britain and more as their own people.

''Modern'' Canada seems to come from the end of the 19th century under the premiership of Laurier. They further formed their identity and independence during WWI and the premiership of Mackenzie King. After WWII they finally emerged as a real, fully independent nation.

As for separatism, yes. There would probably be resistance, if we look at 1812 and how the Canadians reacted to being ''liberated'' it is safe to say that in WWI, when they were emerging as their own nation resistance would be even higher, even a century later.

Even while Britain was busy fighting the Central Powers in Europe and in the Middle East?
I think yes. The forces in the Middle East were not so huge all things considered. If the situation happens like it did in 1812, where USA thought they could beat Britain, they would have a though time. The British army was also more experienced and I would say of better quality, couple that with home terrain advantage and I think that Canada would be able to resist until the reinforcements arrive.
 
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