Discussion:
WI: American intervention in support of Louis Riel, in Canada
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jerry kraus
2018-04-18 13:33:37 UTC
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Riel

Suppose the Americans decide they like the cut of Luis Riel's jib, in 1869-70 in Manitoba, or in 1885 in Saskatchewan, and they decide to provide him with some military support, and backing. So, we have American troops, guns and artillery crossing the border North, to give Louis Riel a hand in his Rebellions. What happens?
Pete Barrett
2018-04-19 14:09:13 UTC
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Post by jerry kraus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Riel
Suppose the Americans decide they like the cut of Luis Riel's jib, in
1869-70 in Manitoba, or in 1885 in Saskatchewan, and they decide to
provide him with some military support, and backing. So, we have
American troops, guns and artillery crossing the border North, to give
Louis Riel a hand in his Rebellions. What happens?
In 1885, there would be a war between the US and the UK. Gladstone was PM
in London, but was already in disarray after the death of Gordon at
Khartoum, and an invasion of Canada by the US would force his resignation
a few months early. Salisbury would take over, a much more aggressive PM
- therefore war.

1869-70 is a bit different. Gladstone was in power then, too, but in a
much stronger political position domestically, having won the 1868
General Election with a sizeable majority. He may be able to avoid a war
with the US, though not if the US is intent on absorbing part of Canada.
If it does come to war, one of the interesting things is that during this
period, Gladstone's government was carrying through major reforms of the
army, and it's not clear if an unreformed British army would be able to
cope with the US.
--
Pete BARRETT
jerry kraus
2018-04-19 15:45:04 UTC
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Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Riel
Suppose the Americans decide they like the cut of Luis Riel's jib, in
1869-70 in Manitoba, or in 1885 in Saskatchewan, and they decide to
provide him with some military support, and backing. So, we have
American troops, guns and artillery crossing the border North, to give
Louis Riel a hand in his Rebellions. What happens?
In 1885, there would be a war between the US and the UK. Gladstone was PM
in London, but was already in disarray after the death of Gordon at
Khartoum, and an invasion of Canada by the US would force his resignation
a few months early. Salisbury would take over, a much more aggressive PM
- therefore war.
1869-70 is a bit different. Gladstone was in power then, too, but in a
much stronger political position domestically, having won the 1868
General Election with a sizeable majority. He may be able to avoid a war
with the US, though not if the US is intent on absorbing part of Canada.
If it does come to war, one of the interesting things is that during this
period, Gladstone's government was carrying through major reforms of the
army, and it's not clear if an unreformed British army would be able to
cope with the US.
--
Pete BARRETT
Pete, Theodore Roosevelt believed, as a young man, that the United States should simply invade and annex, all of Canada. And, this was more or less contemporary with Louis Riel's rebellions. As to the practicalities of such an action, we must consider the difficulties of transporting sufficient British troops across the Atlantic, to deal with the 10 to 1 superiority in population of America versus Canada. Wouldn't the American Navy have been sufficiently powerful by this time to have sunk a great many British troop carriers, even given the power of the British Navy? So, is there really any possibility of the British being able to effectively defend Canada, if the Americans really wanted it, in whole, or in part?

Arguably, Canada has been for the taking for the U.S. since the end of the Mexican American War in 1848, and, arguably, the British have known it. Which is precisely why relations between Britain and the U.S. began improving a great deal following the end of the Mexican American War. It was quite clear that the Americans were going to write their own ticket, and there wasn't a damn thing that Britain could do about it. So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So, since the 1850's Britain's policy as simply been one of systematic accommodation of the U.S. Within limits, whatever they wanted, particularly in North America, they got -- resources, trade, territory, even foreign policy.

Under these circumstances, how, and why, would the American leadership have motivated the American people to invade Canada? And, even supposing an extremely eccentric leader like young Teddy Roosevelt decided to invade Canada, and somehow got Congress to go along, bear in mind the 2 year election cycle for Congress. With no reason to do it, Teddy would end up in prison if he tried. So really, the problem with this whole scenario is that the U.S. won't invade Canada, simply because Canada won't give them any reason to do so.
Pete Barrett
2018-04-20 20:37:17 UTC
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Post by jerry kraus
Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Riel
Suppose the Americans decide they like the cut of Luis Riel's jib, in
1869-70 in Manitoba, or in 1885 in Saskatchewan, and they decide to
provide him with some military support, and backing. So, we have
American troops, guns and artillery crossing the border North, to
give Louis Riel a hand in his Rebellions. What happens?
In 1885, there would be a war between the US and the UK. Gladstone was
PM in London, but was already in disarray after the death of Gordon at
Khartoum, and an invasion of Canada by the US would force his
resignation a few months early. Salisbury would take over, a much more
aggressive PM - therefore war.
1869-70 is a bit different. Gladstone was in power then, too, but in a
much stronger political position domestically, having won the 1868
General Election with a sizeable majority. He may be able to avoid a
war with the US, though not if the US is intent on absorbing part of
Canada. If it does come to war, one of the interesting things is that
during this period, Gladstone's government was carrying through major
reforms of the army, and it's not clear if an unreformed British army
would be able to cope with the US.
--
Pete BARRETT
Pete, Theodore Roosevelt believed, as a young man, that the United
States should simply invade and annex, all of Canada. And, this was
more or less contemporary with Louis Riel's rebellions. As to the
practicalities of such an action, we must consider the difficulties of
transporting sufficient British troops across the Atlantic, to deal with
the 10 to 1 superiority in population of America versus Canada.
Wouldn't the American Navy have been sufficiently powerful by this time
to have sunk a great many British troop carriers, even given the power
of the British Navy? So, is there really any possibility of the
British being able to effectively defend Canada, if the Americans really
wanted it, in whole, or in part?
Arguably, Canada has been for the taking for the U.S. since the end of
the Mexican American War in 1848, and, arguably, the British have known
it. Which is precisely why relations between Britain and the U.S. began
improving a great deal following the end of the Mexican American War.
It was quite clear that the Americans were going to write their own
ticket, and there wasn't a damn thing that Britain could do about it.
So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So, since the 1850's Britain's
policy as simply been one of systematic accommodation of the U.S.
Within limits, whatever they wanted, particularly in North America, they
got -- resources, trade, territory, even foreign policy.
I suppose it's possible to see things like that, particularly from the US
point of view, but I somehow doubt that people like Disraeli or
Palmerston were supinely waiting for orders from Washington! Friendly
relations between Britain and the US were far more important, to both
sides, than any territory either could get from the other.

Of course there were hotheads in the US who thought it would be a good
idea to annex Canada; and there were similar attitudes in Britain, though
obviously they took a different form. (I don't suppose you read British
novels of the period, but there's a passage in 'Phineas Finn' (Anthony
Trollope, 1869) which reads (referring to the electors of Marylebone):
'They care that Canada should not go to the States, because,- though they
don't love the Canadians, they do hate the Americans.')

But as long as the hotheads weren't in charge, the feeling was that it
wasn't worth doing.
Post by jerry kraus
Under these circumstances, how, and why, would the American leadership
have motivated the American people to invade Canada? And, even
supposing an extremely eccentric leader like young Teddy Roosevelt
decided to invade Canada, and somehow got Congress to go along, bear in
mind the 2 year election cycle for Congress. With no reason to do it,
Teddy would end up in prison if he tried. So really, the problem with
this whole scenario is that the U.S. won't invade Canada, simply because
Canada won't give them any reason to do so.
--
Pete BARRETT
jerry kraus
2018-04-23 13:53:57 UTC
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Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Riel
Suppose the Americans decide they like the cut of Luis Riel's jib, in
1869-70 in Manitoba, or in 1885 in Saskatchewan, and they decide to
provide him with some military support, and backing. So, we have
American troops, guns and artillery crossing the border North, to
give Louis Riel a hand in his Rebellions. What happens?
In 1885, there would be a war between the US and the UK. Gladstone was
PM in London, but was already in disarray after the death of Gordon at
Khartoum, and an invasion of Canada by the US would force his
resignation a few months early. Salisbury would take over, a much more
aggressive PM - therefore war.
1869-70 is a bit different. Gladstone was in power then, too, but in a
much stronger political position domestically, having won the 1868
General Election with a sizeable majority. He may be able to avoid a
war with the US, though not if the US is intent on absorbing part of
Canada. If it does come to war, one of the interesting things is that
during this period, Gladstone's government was carrying through major
reforms of the army, and it's not clear if an unreformed British army
would be able to cope with the US.
--
Pete BARRETT
Pete, Theodore Roosevelt believed, as a young man, that the United
States should simply invade and annex, all of Canada. And, this was
more or less contemporary with Louis Riel's rebellions. As to the
practicalities of such an action, we must consider the difficulties of
transporting sufficient British troops across the Atlantic, to deal with
the 10 to 1 superiority in population of America versus Canada.
Wouldn't the American Navy have been sufficiently powerful by this time
to have sunk a great many British troop carriers, even given the power
of the British Navy? So, is there really any possibility of the
British being able to effectively defend Canada, if the Americans really
wanted it, in whole, or in part?
Arguably, Canada has been for the taking for the U.S. since the end of
the Mexican American War in 1848, and, arguably, the British have known
it. Which is precisely why relations between Britain and the U.S. began
improving a great deal following the end of the Mexican American War.
It was quite clear that the Americans were going to write their own
ticket, and there wasn't a damn thing that Britain could do about it.
So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So, since the 1850's Britain's
policy as simply been one of systematic accommodation of the U.S.
Within limits, whatever they wanted, particularly in North America, they
got -- resources, trade, territory, even foreign policy.
I suppose it's possible to see things like that, particularly from the US
point of view, but I somehow doubt that people like Disraeli or
Palmerston were supinely waiting for orders from Washington! Friendly
relations between Britain and the US were far more important, to both
sides, than any territory either could get from the other.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Pete Barrett
Of course there were hotheads in the US who thought it would be a good
idea to annex Canada; and there were similar attitudes in Britain, though
obviously they took a different form. (I don't suppose you read British
novels of the period, but there's a passage in 'Phineas Finn' (Anthony
'They care that Canada should not go to the States, because,- though they
don't love the Canadians, they do hate the Americans.')
Oh, I've read Phineas Finn, and I love Trollope. A genuinely realistic portrait of the period, and a rather unsentimental one, something not so easy to find in Victorian literature. His portrayal of Victorian women is totally ruthless, something I think women find rather irritating about him, but I, of course, thoroughly enjoy! Women complain of Trollope's "masculine perspective" which, of course, means he's simply telling the truth!

Actually, I think Anthony Powell's "Dance to the Music of Time" -- an obsession of mine, as an adolescent -- is much more like Trollope than Marcel Proust, which it's more commonly compared with. I'm not sure why the narrator says he "never found Trollope easy to read", perhaps Tony was being ironic.


But, the point is, Pete, Trollope has his electors hating Americans, he doesn't have them talking about invading them, because, the British know by this time that wouldn't work at all. Whereas the Americans were talking about it all the time. Because, they knew they could do it, if they really wanted to.
Post by Pete Barrett
But as long as the hotheads weren't in charge, the feeling was that it
wasn't worth doing.
That's precisely the point. It wasn't necessary, because the British were aware of their rather weak position in North America, and acted accordingly. So, when Louis Riel wanted "freedom and independence", the Americans simply ignored him while the British backed Canadians government crushed his followers and executed him, because they had a very good deal -- from an economic and political point of view -- with the Canadian government. Money talks, you know. Especially for Americans!

But, note the change of tone in the attitude of the British government following 1848, as compared with the vicious and brilliant social satire of Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit, of all of American society, in 1842. Dickens is describing a country that needs a lesson from the British, and is about to get one! After the drubbing Mexico took in the Mexican-American War, the British realized that simply wasn't going to happen, at all!
Post by Pete Barrett
Post by jerry kraus
Under these circumstances, how, and why, would the American leadership
have motivated the American people to invade Canada? And, even
supposing an extremely eccentric leader like young Teddy Roosevelt
decided to invade Canada, and somehow got Congress to go along, bear in
mind the 2 year election cycle for Congress. With no reason to do it,
Teddy would end up in prison if he tried. So really, the problem with
this whole scenario is that the U.S. won't invade Canada, simply because
Canada won't give them any reason to do so.
--
Pete BARRETT
Pete Barrett
2018-04-24 12:59:08 UTC
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Post by jerry kraus
Oh, I've read Phineas Finn, and I love Trollope. A genuinely
realistic portrait of the period, and a rather unsentimental one,
something not so easy to find in Victorian literature. His portrayal
of Victorian women is totally ruthless, something I think women find
rather irritating about him, but I, of course, thoroughly enjoy! Women
complain of Trollope's "masculine perspective" which, of course, means
he's simply telling the truth!
Well, the truth as he saw it, at least. He _was_ a Victorian man, and a
somewhat conventional one, which is part of what makes him such a good
mirror of 19th century British society; the other part, of course, is
that he was a very acute observer. To be fair, his opinions, particularly
about the role of women in society, changed quite a bit from his early
novels to his later ones.
Post by jerry kraus
Actually, I think Anthony Powell's "Dance to the Music of Time" -- an
obsession of mine, as an adolescent -- is much more like Trollope than
Marcel Proust, which it's more commonly compared with. I'm not sure
why the narrator says he "never found Trollope easy to read", perhaps
Tony was being ironic.
Perhaps. Though a lot of people find Trollope's authorial voice in the
narration (which is far more evident than in, say, Dickens, and quite
different in tone from someone like George Elliot), hard to stomach.
Post by jerry kraus
But, the point is, Pete, Trollope has his electors hating Americans, he
doesn't have them talking about invading them, because, the British know
by this time that wouldn't work at all. Whereas the Americans were
talking about it all the time. Because, they knew they could do it, if
they really wanted to.
I did say that it took a different form! Left to themselves, the ordinary
electors would perhaps have wanted to defeat the US and give it a
collective bloody nose, but they wouldn't have wanted to conquer it, or
even to take any territory. The nobs in power knew that even that much
wasn't worth the trouble even if Britain won; and would risk a defeat
which would cost them their positions in the government.
--
Pete BARRETT
The Horny Goat
2018-04-25 19:45:12 UTC
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:59:08 +0000 (UTC), Pete Barrett
Post by Pete Barrett
Well, the truth as he saw it, at least. He _was_ a Victorian man, and a
somewhat conventional one, which is part of what makes him such a good
mirror of 19th century British society; the other part, of course, is
that he was a very acute observer. To be fair, his opinions, particularly
about the role of women in society, changed quite a bit from his early
novels to his later ones.
I love Mark Twain but certainly wouldn't expect him to live up to
today's politically correct standards. Ditto for Jonathan Swift.

Great men, great humorists but the times were different to a degree
that would make "snowflake's" collective heads implode.

I'm chiefly suprised anybody's surprised.
Pete Barrett
2018-04-26 12:24:01 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:59:08 +0000 (UTC), Pete Barrett
Post by Pete Barrett
Well, the truth as he saw it, at least. He _was_ a Victorian man, and a
somewhat conventional one, which is part of what makes him such a good
mirror of 19th century British society; the other part, of course, is
that he was a very acute observer. To be fair, his opinions,
particularly about the role of women in society, changed quite a bit
from his early novels to his later ones.
I love Mark Twain but certainly wouldn't expect him to live up to
today's politically correct standards. Ditto for Jonathan Swift.
Great men, great humorists but the times were different to a degree that
would make "snowflake's" collective heads implode.
One of the things about a satirist, whether Twain or Swift, is that in
order to satirise things in their own society, they have to compare them
with the equivalents in some other society, simply to know which bits
they want to have a go at.

Conservative satirists (Juvenal, for instance) will make the comparison
with their own society as (they think) it was in the past; rarely with a
more conservative society of their own time.

More forward-looking satirists, such as Twain or Swift, have to compare
their society with either a different society of their own time, or a
future society of their own imagination. But they can never move as far
from their own society as we have actually come since their time.
--
Pete BARRETT
Don P
2018-05-11 14:03:16 UTC
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Post by jerry kraus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Riel
Suppose the Americans decide they like the cut of Luis Riel's jib, in
1869-70 in Manitoba, or in 1885 in Saskatchewan, and they decide to
provide him with some military support, and backing. So, we have
American troops, guns and artillery crossing the border North, to
give Louis Riel a hand in his Rebellions. What happens?
We need to differentiate Riel's two "rebellions."

In 1869-70 Riel was the elected leader of Metis settlers round Winnipeg
(and elected to the Canadian House of Commons when the Metis submitted
to Canadian authority.) Practical disputes at that time and place were
(1) conflict between locally-born Metis and Indian residents and
newly-arrived (English-speaking) settlers, (2) bureaucracy, viz.
Canadian government land surveyors who applied American geographic
methods which ignored customary boundaries defining family lands. Both
were local situations unknown in American history.

In 1885 Riel was not the official leader of anything. Indians in central
Saskatchewan were threatened by both starvation and white settlement
(under formal land treaties perhaps no one understood.) One Indian
leader who knew Riel sent for him (from a settled life in the USA) to be
a sort of spiritual leader (and a personal link to local Metis
communities, French-speaking Christians who lived the nomadic Indian
life.) The practical change was that railways and government Indian
Agents had arrived, and the buffalo (basis of the Indian and Metis
economy and life style) were nearly extinct. This Canadian situation was
very like that on the American prairies, except for extra conflict
between prairie tribes (horse raiders) and those of the boreal forest
(trappers exporting furs by canoe.)

Whatever the costs and benefits of intervention in either case, both the
pretexts and the material means of American action would have been
totally different.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
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