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Remember the Raisin!


by Steve Payne



Author's notes says, what if the Battle of Frenchtown of 1813 had been a catastrophic defeat for Canada?

In 2013, on this day the overwhelming majority of the thirteen million citizens of Ontario celebrated the glorious bicentennial of joining the Union.

The Invasion of Canada 1812-3

Because on February 22nd 1810, the American politician Henry Clay declared that the conquest of Canada is in our power. I trust I shall not be deemed presumptive when I state that I verily believe that the militia of Kentucky are alone competent to place Montreal and Upper Canada at our feet. . Clay was a leading war hawk and, according to historian Clement Eaton, was more than any other individual responsible for the War of 1812.

Almost three years later, a combined force of European, Canadian and five hundred Indians under the command of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (pictured) were decisively beaten at the Battle of Frenchtown, along the River Raisin. The phrase Remember the Raisin became a rallying cry for the brave Kentucky militiamen who had liberated Ontario from Upper Canada just as Clay had predicted.

Half way around the world, Napoleon's army were fleeing Russia, and some of the pressure was off Great Britain. The French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in French fortunes. Napoleon's Grande Armée was wrecked in the campaign and never fully recovered.

For the decision by the Little Corporal to fight a war on two fronts resulted not only in the secession of Ontario to the British North American Union, but also the realisation of Shawnee aspirations for a native confederacy.

In Pierre Berton's Invasion of Canada (1812-3), the author explains two centuries of peace by wisely noting that the creation of an Indian State north of the Ohio acted as a buffer zone between the two of the European States on the North American Continent making future wars unattractive.

As one of the American peace commissioners, Clay helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent with the French Empire and signed it on December 24, 1814. As a result, today's citizens of Frenchtown reside in the Detroit-Windsor region, the eighth most populous metropolitan area in North America.

Author's notes says, the primary source of this post is Pierre Berton, The Invasion of Canada 1812-3 (1980). We have reversed Berton's suggestion that a successful invasion of Canada would have meant Ontario becoming the 19th State. Rather and instead of a slightly modified second scenario, we imagine a radically different third scenario in which Canada is French, fighting a war of aggression with a belligerent British occupied continent.
The term British North American Union and also the Jack and Stripes Flag is repurposed from from the novel The Two Georges by Harry Turtledove and Richard Drefuss (1996).

Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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