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Enemy Commanders: Britain's Greatest FoesEnemy Commanders: Britain's Greatest Foes

5 comments

Rex Cadwaladr
16 March 2012, 5.30pm

Jackson's victory in New

Jackson's victory in New Orleans was not a "decisive blow" in the War of 1812 - the war was already over! The peace treaty was signed on 24th December 1814.

Jim Sparks
17 April 2012, 10.33am

Rex, of course the war was

Rex, of course the war was already over. However, as wars then were fought all over the world and communications were slow, peace treaties allowed for continued fighting even after the Peace Treaty itself was signed. This allowed time for armies and navies to receive word of the peace, and cease the conflict. It also meant that conflict after the signing of a treaty was not considered a violation of the treaty. The Battle of New Orleans was one such incident.

And, it was decisive. If not for the war, but for future American and British history. Think for a minute. If Britain had taken New Orleans, would they have given it back? Never! New Orleans gives them control of the Mississippi and is too valuable. They, most probably, would extend control up the west bank of the Mississippi. So what else happens? American westward expansion is halted - at least towards the south-west. The USA doesn't fight with Mexico, and Mexico retains Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona. The USA is confined to land east of the Mississippi. The world would be a much different place if Britain had won New Orleans.

Jonathan
18 June 2012, 5.50pm

"If Britain had taken New

"If Britain had taken New Orleans, would they have given it back? Never!...The USA is confined to land east of the Mississippi. The world would be a much different place if Britain had won New Orleans."

Utterly unevidenced and frankly unbelievable.

The British returned more land to the USA at the end the War of 1812 than the USA did to Great Britain, but make no mistake both sides returned a lot of land. This would have been no different.

There is no example where Great Britain refused to return land as part of a peace treaty. In fact Britain had done likewise in Europe in the Napoleonic War. Great Britain had undergone two decades of fighting the tyranny of the French Revolution and Napoleon's wars and it desperately craved peace. The British at that time had shown zero interest in acquiring the western half of what is now the United States.

It was "decisive" only in that it gave the USA pride in their relatively new nation and in its ability to operate like other countries, it also gave much credence to Great Britain and the USA being able to operate on a more equal footing in future, this should not be underestimated as being a huge plus for the USA. It also restored dignity to the USA which despite all of its smaller victories had suffered the ignominy of its capital city burned and its land invaded despite originally it being the USA who had done the invading.

Paul Moore
26 June 2012, 5.39am

The historical significance

The historical significance of the Battle of New Orleans is somewhat suspect because it was after the peace. However, in terms of just a military engagement, it was Jackson's masterpiece considering who his soldiers were and who he opponent was. If it had not been a great victory Johnny Horton would never had written a great song about it!!!

Steve King
28 March 2013, 3.06pm

It is true that the Battle of

It is true that the Battle of New Orleans was fought after the peace treaty was signed. However, the United States Congress had yet to ratify it so it wasn't official.

Two errors in the article: Jackson first ran for the presidency in 1824 not 1822 and he actually won the popular vote in that election but lost the electoral college election when two other candidates Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams made a deal making Adams president. Jackson, Grover Cleveland, and Franklin Roosevelt are the only American presidents to win the popular vote in three presidential elections. I also must admit that this is the first time that I can recall that traces that nickname of "jackass" for Jackson led to the Democratic Party adopting the donkey as a symbol. I've always learned both this symbol and that of the elephant for the Republicans were invented by the cartoonist Thomas Nast much later. And if anyone ever called Jackson a jackass he probably would have been staring down the barrel of a gun in short order; Jackson often fought duels over real or perceived slights and was seriously wounded in at least two of them.
After easily defeating American ground forces throughout the War of 1812 the British probably thought New Orleans would be easy takings. They didn't know Andrew Jackson ( when both guns of the man who attempted to assassinate him as president misfired, Jackson began beating him with his cane and had to be pulled off the man to prevent him from killing him). By the way while his hatred of the British no doubt began during the revolution it was reinforced later because he felt that the British stirred up Native American resentment to and attacks on American settlers. Of course, it probably didn't occur to him that the Native Americans didn't need anyone else to make them angry about their lands being taken.

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