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Bold General Wolfe to his men did say

19 Feb

So apparently several of my friends associate me with the French and Indian War, and now seems as good a time as any to explain what the deal with me and the French and Indian War is. I have no idea where my fascination with this war (well, the Seven Years’ War as a whole, but the French-Indian War, the North American front of it, in particular) came from. Well, I kind of do, actually: my mother and I were out for a walk one day, four or five years back, and we started talking about how there’s nothing on it, basically, especially outside of academia (and even academia doesn’t have much). There’s Last of the Mohicans, and that’s pretty much it.

Even non-fiction, it’s pretty much just Fred Anderson and a couple of other works (Crucible of War is fantastic, obviously, as is, more recently, 1759, which isn’t about the war in particular, but does feature a great deal on it). A lot of my research was done completely on my own, and what I started to realize was that there’s just so much in modern history that can be traced to this, this war and this period in general. It was the first real “world war” in modern history, with all the powers of Europe getting involved—it was what really firmly established the British Empire as the dominant power in the world, in the end—and the seeds being sown for a lot of wars to come, as well as a great deal of social conflict: the British occupation of India really started with the Seven Years’ War. One of the reasons Napoleon fought England so hard in India was that he was trying to get back territory the British had taken, to make up for the humiliations the French suffered in their defeat by the British. The French loss meant that their national debt was monstrous, and thirty-odd years later that all blew up, or perhaps I should say it came to a head. OH HO HO HO, I DID IN FACT GO THERE, MY FRIENDS.

American-Canadian shared history, there’s so much that originates here, not just factually but culturally as well, and for each country on its own in addition to our shared history. So much of what America was fighting in the Revolution was stuff that came to a head during, or as a result of, this war: the massive taxes Britain had to levy to pay the massive debts incurred by the war, as by any war, for instance (and the French debts, leading to the French Revolution)—and during the war, there was this increasing sense of the cultural differences between England and America, that the massive space between them wasn’t just geographical anymore. Even the so-called “American” units in the British Army were generally made up of recent European immigrants, or even just straight Europeans, without bothering with the middleman.

MAN IDEK. Now I’m in the mood to dig out my books and start :D-ing over them and forcing fascinating tidbits of information on you all. Fine young dandies dying heroic deaths (OH GENERAL WOLFE)! Hot young George Washington being the only competent person around at the Monongahela campaign, and getting butthurt that no one would listen to him (SPOILER ALERT: he got his comeuppance, oh yes he did)! Basically the moment I fully appreciated how sad I was was when Kate Beaton did a comic about the Plains of Abraham and made some comment about obscure Canadian history that no one was going to care about, or something along those lines, and I was like “man, when it’s only you and Kate Beaton who care, you know you’re in trouble”.  WHATEVER, IT’S WORTH IT.