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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 304–323 | Cite as

Weaving national narratives: 1812 and the Atlantic Community

  • Carl Cavanagh HodgeEmail author
2013 Donald Cameron Watt prize winner

Abstract

In 2011, the Government of Canada announced its plans for the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. While Ottawa drew criticism for both the spirit and the form of its commemorative efforts, the war was in fact a more significant event than is commonly appreciated. Not only did it make possible sovereign Canadian nationhood but also constituted a pivotal event in the evolution of the Atlantic Community. A review of the ideas and institutions in incubation prior to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars reveals that Europe and North America were bound more closely together than much of the scholarship of the intervening centuries concedes. Moreover, the founding generation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was in many respects more aware of the breadth and depth of the trans-Atlantic commercial and political heritage than is contemporary defence and security scholarship. By way of the work of scholars concerned with the evolution of capitalist and republican thought in the Atlantic realm, this article argues that the War of 1812 was a key event in the development of the Atlantic Community, a community currently in disarray through myopic attention to security concerns and inattention to its political economy.

Keywords

Atlanticism Anglosphere free trade war republicanism Whig history 

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of British Columbia-OkanaganKelownaCanada

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