Why didn't the British try to reconquer the US after 1812?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,514
#61
It's like saying Bulgaria lost WWI and WWII. Of course once Napoleon was defeated, the British could bring an overwhelming force and bottle up the US Navy in port.

Trying to reconquer the US made no sense, but the British could have insisted on concessions, at least the current borders rather than those before the war, keeping Maine and Michigan. However, Britain was so eager to end the war that it agreed to terms that would end the negotiations quickly.
 
Feb 2016
3,995
Japan
#62
That
US aim #3

Drive British military from locations on the Gulf Coast permanently: modern Mobile, AL, Penasacola FL, Biloxi, MS - DONE (with the national myth of New Orleans as bonus)

So I will further claim 11 percent of the 33 percent "Britain to cease practice of taking sailors", not mentioned in the Treaty, absolutely yet the issue disappeared in following decades.

USA got 4 parts in 9 of the war goals.

CONCLUSION: Not the war is clearly not a "knock out" per your construct, but a decision "on points".
Wrong. Britain was not situated in those regions when the US started. Britain only landed their during the war .... so how can it have been are War aim? And the Beitish withdrew from Mobile after the peace. So they weren’t driven out of anywhere.

And the reason Britain didn’t start a robust recruitment process after was nothing to do with 1812-14. But the fact we had no major wars for the next 100 years that needed it.

Complete defeat for the US.
 
Jul 2018
299
Hong Kong
#63
Complete defeat for the US.
I disagree. US didn't cede any territories or privilege to Britain, and all the British army withdrawed from the US soil as the British navy ceased the blockade of the US ports after the war. US virtually lost nothing other than casualties and money he expended during the war. Moreover, Britain's attempt to stop US's westward expansion was thwarted and failed to prevent its allies the native American tribes from being eliminiated one by one, in the following decades. its precious ally, Tecumseh was even killed in AD 1813, greatly weakened the Indian's resistance against US.

What Britain actually gained from the war ? Yes, he protected his possession Canada, but that's not the gain, merely retained the status quo ; the fact that Britain failed to protect his ally Indians could be seen as a failure in the war cause.

In fact, the outcome of the War of 1812 was virtually "inconclusive" in large extent, and probably the minor US victory if you consider the defeat of Tecumseh and other Indian tribes in the battles such as Horseshoe Bend counted as the US strategic success. I emphasize, the War of 1812 was not just between Britain and US.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2016
3,995
Japan
#64
Britain wasn’t trying to gain anything. If you break into my house and I chase you away without you stealing anything. You can’t claim you were successful because I didn’t rob you on your way out.

Britain didn’t want the war.
Britain had no plan or desire to take anything from the US.
Britain was on the defensive.

Retroactively trying to save US face by claiming “well Britain didn’t take anything”. Well. Of course. They hadn’t the intention.

So considering every US goal vs the British was a failure.... I’d say they lost comprehensivly. A mythmaking New Orleans might give them some propaganda material but anyone who reads beyond that can see.

Analogy. We are neighbours. My son is having problems with the French kids on the other side of the street and sometimes steals your kids lunch money (some of which your kid pinched from mine) to buy things to throw at them. You ask me to tell him to stop, but I say “nah. That French kid is a punk and needs a lesson, let my boy do his thing”.
You aren’t happy and threaten to get physical.... secretly this is perfect. You always hated the fact my garden and yours are next to each other and this could be chance for you to steal my garden and force me out of the neighbourhood. You set fire to my porch and jump over my fence.
In the ensuing altercation I break your nose, black both your eyes, set fire to your living room, your car and have you locked in your house while your wife screams at you to stop. You agree and I leave. Your dog nips me as I leave. My kid has knocked out the French kid and doesn’t have to bother your kid for his lunch money, which you didn’t even mention as you rush to end the situation you started.
You keep quiet for a few weeks. Then You brag about how you taught me a lesson and stopped me from taking your house.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,712
At present SD, USA
#65
Complete defeat for the US.
Not really. Had it been a complete defeat, the US would have taken consequences beyond the loss of men and money. Because that is the way that governments tend to operate in war...

Look at what France had when they invaded Russia in 1912. They directly controlled Holland, Belgium, parts of Germany west of the Rhine, some parts of northern Italy, and parts of the region east of Italy along the Adriatic coast. Then look at what France had AFTER the War of the Sixth Coalition ended... France was reduced down regions smaller than its modern borders, and it would not expand to its modern borders until Napoleon III's involvement in Italy's wars of unification (but that's a different conflict). France also lost its government as Napoleon was removed as Emperor of the French and the Bourbon Monarchy was restored, which Britain had set out to restore from the very start of the French Revolution.

THAT is what complete defeat would look like for the time period.

And Britain and America had potential tipping points that both had to be aware of at the time, and they go beyond Canada. The British were active to a certain degree in many regions in the Ohio Territory after the American Revolution, and while they would withdraw when the Constitution was signed, they did have some degree of sympathy toward many of the tribes in the region, likely in relation to the fur trade. After Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, there would soon begin the seeds of tension over who owned Oregon. Had the War of 1812 been a complete British victory, Britain would have surely demanded concessions that would directly benefit them...

But no such demands were made. And while America didn't get Canada or any concessions regarding impressment, Britain was unable to prevent American expansion into the Ohio River Valley, which essentially abandoned Britain's native allies and continued to allow for the growth of the US as a country, which it had been on before the War of 1812.

In this, the war would at best be only a minor British victory and at worst a draw. As all that was attained between the two was the restoration of conditions before the war. America really didn't have to give anything up in the war, which compared to what Napoleon had to give up in the War of the 6th Coalition... would come off as remarkably conciliatory, which is not something that happens when one side completely defeats another.
 
Jul 2018
299
Hong Kong
#66
Britain didn’t want the war.
Britain had no plan or desire to take anything from the US.
Britain was on the defensive.
You sounded like Britain was so innocent and had nothing to do with the cause of the war. This is absolutely not true. Your conception was very wrong.

Indeed, the British impressments of US sailors and the British arms support to the Indian tribes were provocative to the US, even the latter exploited them as an excuse for going to war consequently.

Therefore, saying Britain was simply on “defensive” is not correct and ignorant of the British aggressive diplomacy in the region.
 
Feb 2016
3,995
Japan
#67
Your right, Britain was certainly pigheaded and arrogant in her conduct before the war.
But she certainly wasn’t looking for a war, wasn’t really in a position to fight one, and had made no aggressive moves.

So had no reason to fight.
The war was started by the states.

So no. I don’t think I’m ignorant.
It’s more ignorant to claim any form of US victory against GB (some good battle victories aside) and involves large stretches of the imagination and application of false premises.

And yes. Britain was on the defensive for the first two years of the war. If you can demonstrate how Britain was the aggressor? What troop build up they made? What invasions were launched.

Britain had about 5 000 troops scattered across Canada... what war of aggression would they prosecute with a half battalion here and two companies there.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,712
At present SD, USA
#69
But she certainly wasn’t looking for a war, wasn’t really in a position to fight one, and had made no aggressive moves.
Britain made no move that would be comparable with the wars started in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars, with one side or the other massing armies and outright invading... But Britain was also WELL aware of the growing potential America had, and particularly to how it could impact the fur trade, among other things, in the Ohio River territory. It was why the British had worked, or at least tried to work with Tecumseh for many of the years before the War of 1812. There was the reasoning that if America was too busy fighting a war with the natives, a war the US could potentially lose, or at least spend decades fighting given the tiny nature of the American Army and how heavily it was dependent on local militia, the US could not interfere in Britain's fur trade in the Americas, lay claim to the disputed parts of Maine, or the Oregon territory, which Lewis and Clark had already violated when they went to the Pacific Coast.

In this, Britain wasn't directly attacking the US, but it was instigating or at least trying to instigate the conflicts between the US and the native tribes on the western US border for the purpose of protecting their own interests in Canada without having to send a large force to Canada while the Napoleonic Wars were still ongoing in Europe.

It’s more ignorant to claim any form of US victory against GB (some good battle victories aside) and involves large stretches of the imagination and application of false premises.
It would also be weak to claim that America was completely defeated. Yes, the US didn't get Canada and yes, the British did burn down Washington, but there was no outright surrender to the British after the burning of Washington DC, and the failed siege of Baltimore and Fort McHenry came after the burning of Washington and the US government had outright surrendered...

Which would have allowed the US the British to impose a treaty that would likely let America know that they had lost. I don't think Britain had any interest in restoring British rule, as they didn't want to incur the costs of having to police the US again... particularly in the aftermath of the near 15 years they'd spent fighting Napoleon... but had the British totally defeated the US in every facet... it is unlikely that the British would be so generous as to simply allow the restoration of the pre-war status quo and "forget" everything happened. They would have likely employed steps that would protect their trade with the native tribes and possibly even left America even more dependent on British trade than America already was in order to make sure that America didn't get the idea to try again... And this could potentially include the ceding of Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase to Spain, with the knowledge that Spain would never be a serious rival with the British over Oregon while the US could very well become one later.

If you can demonstrate how Britain was the aggressor?
From the point of view of the Madison Administration that related to the Impressment of American citizens and that they felt that NO foreign power had the right to force American citizens to serve in that foreign power's military...

Now the issue is a complicated one... I think it's in The War for All the Oceans by Roy Adkins... I'm pretty sure he argues that Britain's impressment policy was actually aimed more at BRITISH citizens as part of their standard recruitment methods, particularly when sailors either deserted or fled to neutral countries to avoid the rigors of service in the navy. In this, much of the issue with regards to Britain and America and impressment was on the recognition of one's citizenship. America quite willingly accepted people into the US at that time. Which meant British citizens not wanting to risk their lives against the French navy left and went to America where they could get jobs with the American merchant fleet, which needed sailors, and have a much lower risk of being killed. The Royal Navy, trying to fill its rosters served to try and track escaped sailors down and the actual cases of American citizens being impressed could be more a case of mistaken identity than anything else, and that cases where American citizens who HADN'T been British citizens or Royal Navy deserters were far lower than what the Madison Administration would claim/recognize... Though, it's been a while since I read the book and I no longer have the copy on hand, so I can't double check...

It was a good book though, if you're interested in the naval combat of the Napoleonic War period.

Britain had about 5 000 troops scattered across Canada... what war of aggression would they prosecute with a half battalion here and two companies there.
As said before... the activity wasn't so much about directly invading the US, but presenting enough "behind closed doors" connections to the Native tribes, like Tecumseh so that they would so occupy the US that the US regular army would be too busy battling Indians to pose a threat to Canada or Britain's fur trade. And in a sense, those troops could do that. They don't need a massive show of force to encourage meetings with tribal leaders who weren't happy about Americans coming onto their lands.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,446
Stockport Cheshire UK
#70
Complete defeat for the US.
While it was a defeat for the USA, it was nowhere near a complete defeat. While they failed in most of their war aims they managed to force the British to offer them the minimum terms that the British were willing to accept to end the war.

In truth the war, while a British victory at its end, was a defeat for both of them.
The USA with the result of the war, and the British in having to fight it in the first place. If the British government had been more alert to the warning signs and been a little less arrogant they might have avoided this unwanted war in the first place.
 
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