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tv   U.S. Plan to Invade Canada  CSPAN  January 17, 2016 4:45pm-5:43pm EST

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century, still struggling deeply, in the headlines and in our homes and in our friendships, with the many things that stowe was writing about that they were struggling with them. when you visit harriet beecher stowe's house, you are going to have an experience unlike many other historic house museums. et's cover th >> our staff recently traveled to hartford, connecticut . you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> next, on american history tv, author kevin lippert talks about the history of conflict between the united states and canada from the small raids and attacks between the 19th century to the plans they had to invade each other following world war i. an hour long.
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[applause] kevin: thank you very much. i would like to thank david and douglas for inviting me here. and to you for learning about archival history, which i hope you find interesting and a little humorous. i want to start by telling you about how this project came about. i got a degree in history. like most people i needed to formulate a plan b as far as a career. after a trip to an architecture school, i ended up in publishing where i spent a lot of my days worrying about what kinds of books might appeal to people. in one of those conversations in my canadian distributor, he asked if i had any books that would appeal to canadians. i said, i don't know, what appeals to canadians? i believe she said, "canadians
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are always worried about what americans think of them." i said, i don't know. the next day, i saw this article. [laughter] well, there you go. that says something about how we feel about canada. we don't apparently have a plan to invade them. we like iraq enough to invade them. canada apparently is just not as interesting. the pentagon says there are no plans to invade canada. then somebody said maybe we should invade canada. we could pay for obamacare. it was starting to somewhat a -- starting to sound like a teenage boy who says, "i don't like that girl," even though he spends all his time thinking about her. there was a plan to invade canada.
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it was unearthed in 1974, who -- byyour former director men who asked your former director what was the weirdest document you have here? war plan red."were plan red it was america's plan to fight a war against britain on canadian soil. i thought, there you go. that is what we are going to talk about and will appeal to canadians and some americans. i went back and dug through the history of the u.s. canada border, and the many situations we have had since the founding of the united states. all the problems start here. this is in yorktown. this is the surrender of cornwallis to washington and general roshambo.
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in 1781, from there, the peace treaty negotiations. the british were sore losers. are there any british people here? [laughter] kevin: the painter painted them out. "to hell with you." [laughter] kevin lord buckingham were with : the british team. they asked the american team, benjamin franklin, john j, john jay, john adams and henry lawrence, "what will it take to negotiate a peace treaty?" , the 13d, "that is easy colonies, plus quebec st. , john's, newfoundland, and prince edward island. we just want a war where you -- one a wawon a war where you d
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canada as a staging ground. if this is going to be a great north american country we should have the colonies plus north america." this was too much for the british. the british were willing to acknowledge the independence of the new countries. the idea of acknowledging our independence and giving us all of canada was not going to happen. so, the negotiations dragged on for almost two years. finally, in 1783 they agreed to draw a line. here's what it says. "from the atlantic through the great lakes to the north westernmost point of the lake of the woods, and then, do west course to the river mississippi, using this map." this was created by a man, david mitchell. he was born in virginia and went to edinburgh to study medicine. he dropped out of medical school after two years and moved back
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to virginia to practice medicine anyway without an md. [laughter] kevin: during his time in scotland, he got used to the drizzle and found the heat of virginia inseparable. -- in sufferable. he made this map of north america using whatever information he could find. the map is full of errors. so, for example, on this map, drawing a line from the north of thet corner mississippi makes sense, but you cannot do that unless you draw a diagonal line through minnesota. that is what the northwest angle is.
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several exclave of the united states around completely by canada. home point minnesota you can only get to by driving through canada. minnesota nt, one of those was henry clay. he was speaker of the house, nicknamed "the dictator." i have drawn a line here. he was looking for an excuse. the hms leopard fired on the chesapeake in 1807 looking for sailors to press into service. clay stood up in congress and if we are decided and firm,
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success is inevitable. thomas jefferson said that taking canada was a matter of marching. so, they could be forgiven for thinking that victory would be easy. the u.s. population was 8 million compared to canada's 500,000. canada had only -- excuse me, britain only had 6000 troops and the states more than twice that. britain was bogged down at home in a bruising war against napoleon. many americans were born in america or had immigrated there. in fact, the british general isaac brock declared that most upper canadians were essentially bad and so american that they would welcome a regime change. so, war was declared in june of 1812, but what nobody could foresee was the ineptness of american soldiers. here is the little battle map of the canadian front.
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most of the war of 1812 was played out on the canadian front. either i didn't pay attention in high school or they didn't spend a huge amount of time on the war of 1812. maybe because it is not a good story from their perspective. here are three battles between the united states and the british on the canadian frontier. hall,rst, william attacked canada and managed to lose detroit in the process. he was a revolutionary war hero and marched his troops up to detroit but not knowing that during the march the war had been declared, he didn't know that sending a schooner loaded with supplies and wounded and secret plans for an invasion was a bad idea. so, the british intercepted this schooner and knew all about his secret invasion plans. hall and his troops arrived in
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detroit where they found only whiskey and soap, and launched ,heir attack on amherst berg presumably drunk. the british were expecting him. brock had enlisted the aid of sympathetic americans led by tecumseh. tecumseh famously said who are the white people that we should fear them? they cannot run fast and are good marks to shoot at. brock issued a call for surrender on the ground that he could, "could not control once the battle started." he surrendered without a shot. he was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted due to his advanced age. next, queenston heights led by
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stephen sellier. he gave orders to attack in miserable conditions. his rousing speech was not quite henry v. "neither rain, snow, nor frost will prevent the embarkation." that was not enough to keep his spokesman from deserting, taking all the oars for the invasion. the disorganized americans were gunned down in spite of greater numbers although the british did lose isaac brock who had gone for the day to detroit and got back in time to be shot. you see him there, lying fatally wounded, urging his troops on. an increasingly worried secretary of war tried once again on the canadian front with an attack on montreal led by henry dearborn, who expected to
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be welcomed by disgruntled americans as liberators. that sounds familiar. we've heard that lately. [laughter] kevin: under the cover of night, he sent 500 of his 6000 troops across the border. many suffered from dysentery, measles or typhus. in the confusion of the cold and dark, americans opened fire on one another and the reinforcements refuse to cross the border hearing all the chaos. dearborn called a hasty retreat. it was a fellow officer wrote a "a miscarriage without even the heroism of disaster." i'm not sure what that means. [laughter] kevin: the entire campaign against canada 0-3 produce d nothing but disaster, disgrace, ruin, and death.
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treasury secretary gallatin wrote to president madison the at "the series of misfortunes exceeds all anticipations made even by those with the least confidence in our inexperienced officers and undisciplined men." things for better on the ocean where the u.s. navy held its own. the highlight was the uss constitution, which chased down and sank the hms guerrier, the sixth defeat for the british navy in over 200 battles over the previous 20 years. this outraged the british. the london evening star describes the american navy as "a few frigates built by bastards and outlaws." they were upset. happily for the british, the war with napoleon was defeated.
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britain turns its attention back to its other war. 1840, the triples -- 1814, they triple the number of men in canada to 52,000. they went on the offensive. first was maine. this is the british invasion map on your right. 40 americans looked up the window and saw 2500 troops. undeterred, the british sailed up giving them control of 100 miles of maine coast. people were offered a choice of taking an oath of allegiance to the crown or leaving. most took the oath. it is scarcely conceivable to imagine the joy of the inhabitants, complained the local newspaper. many were hoping for lower taxes and easier trade with canada. washington hit back and suspended mail service to
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maine. many were keen to continue illegal smuggling to canada. it became a major destination for r&r for british troops and remained under british rule until the end of the war. having taken maine, britain turned its attention down here, and august 1814 it came down to the chesapeake. they can do to the chesapeake a british general complained about american soldiers. they would have been better at tending towards agricultural occupations. the soldiers precluded the possibility of many sold -- many prisoners being taken. as good andthe wind
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this was the tipping point in the unpopular war. desertion was extremely high and the national finances were in ruin. the u.s. government defaulted on its debt, which had been flowing into canada to finance the war. we had been buying british bonds in 1814 alone. the chesapeake invasion caused a run on the banks and was only worth the treasury notes. what little money remain flowed
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into canada from british troops eager for food. two thirds of our army are at this moment eating beef provided by american contractors, drawn from the states of new york and vermont. president madison was described as miserable and wobegon. the sentiment had very few cards to play the negotiating table. having declared war, the nation must pay the price. the treaty of ghent could be spun as having lost the war but one the peace. it restored the u.s. canada border from it 1783 definition. the pork and beans war of 1839 known as the lumberjack war, as eager as many people had been to do business with canadians in the war of 1812, maine lumberjacks were fed up with people from new brunswick coming over and stealing their trees. in early 1839, they organized a posse of militia to invade new brunswick and capture any new brunswick lumberjacks who were selling trees that main thought belongs to them. they were captured by canadian militia and marched off in chains to prison. the united states may be overreacted, authorized 50,000 men under the command of winfield scott.
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and $10 million to start a war against new brunswick. to release the maine lumberjacks. lord ashburton was keen not to have another arms conflict with united states. they gave a good chunk of new brunswick to the united states to avoid war. the territory was worth nothing.
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there is only one casualty, who either froze to death, drowned or was run over by a cannon or supply wagon, or all of the above. his grave marker is on route u.s. 2a. it is not worth the drive. the next one, i don't know what it is about pork and canada, this was on the west coast. because of the vagaries of the map and the fact that it was mostly uncharted territory, it wasn't clear where the border went through the island. both united states and british citizens occupied it. the british super merchant had a form their. and had also settlers on the northern part. one morning and american looked out of his farmhouse and saw the british pig rooting around in his potato garden.
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he shot the pig dead. this quickly escalated into an argument about whose fault that was, and what reparations and claims, and the echo of the falklands islands, resulted in a military buildup. the united states sent in 500 troops. the british sent in warships and men. governor general of vancouver told the british rear admiral to invade and engage the americans. he said to engage two great countries in a squabble over a pig is foolish though, this were
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also ended with a negotiated settlement. each side kept 100 men and you can go there today and that is worth the trip. you can see the remnants of the camps. i'm going to skip ahead. the civil war was a bit complicated because of britain's a legend neutrality. -- a legend neutrality. maybe we couldn't fight our way into canada, maybe we could buy it. william stewart had done this with alaska from russia. russia needed the cash and were eager to sell. steam would want it to surround it with american soil.
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he also sought to buy greenland from denmark. denmark was not interested. this idea resurfaced at the beginning of world war ii. america tried to buy greenland to keep the germans from building bases there. our offer was declined. this is the check for the purchase. the idea of buying canada reached its pitch with house resolution 754 introduced by nathaniel banks. assume $85 million of canadian debt, give $2 million, and put another $50 million to shore up the infrastructure. that died a quiet death in committee. some things never change.
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in the civil war, the british were officially neutral. they just wanted to do trade with both sides. one of the things they did was build ships for the confederacy. they built this amazing ship, this is the captain aboard the ship. 250 foot long, which was propelled by steam or by sale. they boarded 450 union ships and took 2000 prisoners without a single casualty. it was the confederate death star. it sank the uss griswold which was a relief ship that left from boston headed for lancashire filled with supplies. after the war, the union sought reparations for the sinking of the griswold and for the damage by the alabama. they were looking for official apology from england dan reparations of several hundred million dollars.
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england was not about to apologize. their economy was in tatters because of the fallout from the textile industry. hamilton fish, they said tell you what, give is canada and call it square. but some irish-americans had a better idea. why don't we trade ireland for canada. are there any canadians who can answer -- is this fenian?
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they were a group of irish-americans, who founded the fenian brotherhood. they quickly gained a 10,000 members over $500,000 in cash and call themselves the irish republican army. maybe they could find an irish public america or encourage the united states to annex canada. secretary of state william seward looking at $1.6 million -- they overlooked the fact that most canadian irish were protestant and not catholic.
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outside of quebec, they wanted to break ties with britain. in 1866 they invaded new brunswick but were turned back by canadian militia. they floated a thousand men on barges from buffalo and were defeated in the battle of bridgeway by prepared troops. and the cross back into the united states where they were arrested for violating american neutrality laws. the arrests were mostly for show and they were quickly released. they amassed 15,000 firearms and 3 million rounds of ammunition.
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the u.s. agreed to stop looking the other way and president grant reaffirmed our neutrality act. the raids have the unintended consequence of galvanizing canadian national spirit which may have hastened the grant for independence. this created a new country out of new brunswick, and rupert's land, 1.5 million square miles of land owned by the hudson bay company. the general sense was the new canadian nation would not survive long and would be peacefully absorbed into the great north american republic. others push for annexation saying the northwest along to canada, in the long geographically to minnesota, and warned the continent is our land and we might as well notify the world that we will fight for it. the railroads were willing to play hardball. the president of the northern pacific railroads sent a letter to his canadian counterpart that he had intentionally built land close to the border to keep canadians out of the western territories where there was some sympathy.
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the largest hotel in winnipeg flew the stars & stripes. canada's new political status increased tensions with united states, the trent affair 1861 was a case in point. a ship intercepted carrying two double mats urging british recognition of the confederacy. canada ready troops, 46,000 men at arms of the u.s. border. lincoln decided he could find only one were at a time. the crisis passed. the canadian nationalism reached fever pitch with world war i when obligated as part of his empire status to send troops, actually sent 38,000.
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many without training or equipment. historians explained that canadian nationalism spring not just from darwinian ideas of racial superiority, but also from the unifying symbol of the british empire. british national consciousness was entwined with imperial glory and responsibilities. the empire was the source of stability and believe in their spear he already -- their superiority. it meant something in a way we find today incomprehensible if not embarrassing.
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imperial ties were sufficient enough to bring canadians, australians, new zealanders and south africans from the white colonial dominions back to volunteer and fight and die for the mother country. one of these battles was on easter day in 1917 where the canadian troops won a decisive battle. rising nationalism and success overseas bond a creation of a new canada first movement. more manly, more real, then those superstitions of an effeminate south.
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this carried racist overtones. the states for water down with vagrant populations of italy and other countries of southern europe and one rider suggested that what canada needed to prove its new module -- macho identity was a war with the united states. it is not clear whether one witnessed the battle at them he ridge james sutherland brown. if you felt this way about the united states. he did think that war with united states was inevitable in the best defense was a good offense. he returned to canada and director of the military operations and intelligence and
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begin to give the whole thing real thought in 1920. it was good reason to think a war between united states and great britain was inevitable. we loaned the u.k. a huge sum for their war effort. $22 billion. the secret communique from the american ambassador in 1920 relate irritation that we expected it to be repaid in cash or gold. britain was nervous about us becoming too serious a rival and would block us at every turn and surround us with potential enemies. buster brown rounded up a few colleagues and did some undercover espionage. there they are undercover. they loaded up with some bounties into a model t and surveyed the roads and bridges. some fieldnotes are hilarious. the people of burlington, vermont seem very affable and not as american as other u.s. cities. in rural vermont he noted
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americans had a deliberate way of working and believe in frequent rest and gossip. the women appear to be heavy and not calmly locked. a large number of men in the state of vermont are fat and lazy but pleasant and congenial. in a kind of comical at co william holt, he was convinced canadians would be welcome if not as liberators than as bartenders. asking a local to identify a campbell's home, he quipped you people here are like the camel. you can go seven days without a drink. he did find a large number of american citizens who are not
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pleased with democracy and had a sneaking regard for british law and constitution civilization. on the whole he concluded vermont was at best an abstraction for any invading canadian force. here is the cover of his defense, called the defense game number one, a full-scale invasion plan. this document fell into the hands of enemies of this country. what he envisioned was lightning raids, to buy time for the british to sell to canada's rescue. you can see his five pronged attack. you'll recognize the mirror image of that. like a lot of things, the united states was a decade behind canada and it took us another 10 years to come up with our war plan red when the war department decided they needed a contingency for a war with britain on canadian soil.
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this is the cover sheet. on this you see the declassified 1974 stamp on the bottom. this is our version of the same thing. we agreed on what do we points on the border were. this is not going to be a quick lightning raid. although in the words of the plan they are known to fight to the finish and can muster 2.5 million men in canada within 40 days of the start of hostilities.
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the plan was updated in 1935 and given an extra $57 million including money to build secret airbases to hold the largest peacetime wargames, only a grenade launcher the border involving 6500 soldiers. suddenly they had more enemies to fight and found themselves on the same side in world war ii. that is the detailed east coast version. my population of 11 million people one million canadians served in world war ii. perhaps a recognition of this contribution canada and the u.s. were equal partners in norad, when canada worried about being a target or collateral damage between the states and russia. these are the blast doors of the
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command headquarters. we were good buddies during the cold war. we sat side-by-side. on canadian general at the table. in april 2000 two after the 9/11 attacks president bush created north com. including canada, alaska and mexico, bahamas, u.s. virgin islands, and even pre-obama did not make the cut. donald rumsfeld responds to land and sea threats from attacks and other major emergencies in
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canada or the knighted states. the fact that the prime minister declined to join was a minor detail having pass on the opportunity to center to iraq. instead agreeing to a neighborhood watch committee, bpg, which morphed into the security and prosperity partnership. lou dobbs speculated it was a covert plan to merge the u.s. and canada after george bush declared a state of emergency to keep themselves in office. obama canceled in 2009. though in effect we got norad, north, by expanding the definition of norad. war plan red seems a bit silly now.
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our economies and cultures are so intertwined. our trade last year with canada was $617 billion versus $536 billion with china. a deficit of 32 billion versus 315 billion respectively. canadian exports come here, 51% of imports come from the states. 1-10 of canadians work in the united states including 250,000 in hollywood and 350,000 in new york city making new york city canada's 15th largest city by population. we snuck in there at the bottom. 700,000 first nation native americans have dual citizenship which makes that larger than the state of alaska. more than 60 million border crossings are made every year. for all intents and purposes you can argue that we are, we have achieve some sort of annexation of one another.
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there is a serious snow on the subject by canadian journalist called merger of these century where he argues we should form a north american union like the european union that together our economy would be so dominant in military so dominant that we would be set for the long-term. there are some reasons, however, i should say with apologies, to consider maybe not to file a war plan, to consider and and invasion of canada. they have the second largest reserve of oil after saudi arabia and 20% of the world's freshwater which many think will be the cause of future global conflicts.
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they have a functioning health care system and a semi-functioning clinical system, longer life expectancy and lower rates of cancer, stroke, heart disease, infant mortality. if you believe the global warming will continue to melt northwest passage they will have one of the hemispheres to navigable sea passages, maybe the only one of the panama canal if it is closed for political or natural reasons. they bring some stuff to the table.
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i had a harder time thinking why canada might want to blow the dust off the defense team and invade the united states. here is the best i could come up with. miles of warm southern beaches. many these are occupied by canadians in the winter months. repatriation of many celebrities, mike myers, william shatner, justin bieber, america's favorite american -- and the real prize is the zamboni company located in california. and the stanley cup would never leave. we do think about it. dan coats of indiana said in a hearing last june the pentagon has a contingency plan on the shelf for just about every scenario including an invasion of canada. real quickly, these are in the books.
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fulltext transcripts of defense scheme number one and war plan red. you can see back in the day we could list their ships, we could do a detailed inventory of everything canada has. maybe that is in a giant database. now it is too big. ditto defense scheme number one. we lack depth. i think there was a 15-1 population gap in 1920. so, this is buster brown thinking about future wars, europeans mean noted states, a combination of all the above attacking canada. i am happy that none of this ever happened but it is fun to look back and see what might have been. i would be happy to answer any questions or hear any speculations about reasons -- [applause]
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thank you. >> thank you, very interesting. for the plans of each country looking into taking over the other, if canada is part of a commonwealth, -- kevin: that was the plan. he would basically invade quickly, to buy time for the british to get here. the british were always a little ambivalent about whether -- how much canadians could count on them and sent mixed messages. you are part of the empire, we will use all available means to defend you. on another hand when approached by american politicians who asked how would you feel about annexation of canada reply was if canada wants to go we won't stand in the way. canada counted on that but who can tell?
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>> a few blocks from here in 1969 peter trudeau gave a speech at the national press club and he quoted his distinguished predecessor from an 1867 letter to live in calcutta and the sentence from the letter was were will come some day between england and the united states, and india could do a service by sending an army of sikhs, burqas and baluchi's across these pacific to san francisco and holding that beautiful and immoral city with the surrounding california as security for montreal and canada. [laughter] kevin: john a mcdonnell is fascinating. he is an incredible man. he put canada together more or less single-handedly. while usually on a bender.
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there is a great biography of him which i recommend to all of you. we anticipated we would bring over colored troops, sikhs and indians, other people from the far reaches of the british empire. troops not to be underestimated. the war plan anticipated that the 2.5 million men what in fact arrive within a few weeks of outbreak of war, and some would be british, most of the troops. those ships were excellent fighters. there is a letter in the book, a draft of a speech that fdr delivered when he accepted an honorary doctorate at queenston, where the defense scheme was held in which he said we are such good friends, such great
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neighbors because we don't engage in secret diplomacy behind each other's back, only a few months after he signed off on building fake air force bases near the border. thank you for bringing up him. >> you and people interested enough in the topic to attend this lecture might be interested to know about a nova scotia and rider called thomas ryan oh who wrote historical novels and works of history that are very interesting. one of the most interesting is called his majesty's yankees, how nearly nova scotia was the
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14th colony to join. i discovered raddle. kevin: ok. thank you for that. >> so, all this being the case, how would you summarize the inability of the united states to take canada. was there economy strong and independent? in the 19th century? overall. kevin: in the 19th century canada was an extremely poor and agricultural nation without a standing army until 1899 when obligation of treaty they had to muster some troops to go fight a war with the british. the northwest came out of the east. they had 450 men. they had an equal number of cattle and livestock to fight
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the liquor runners. but i think there was a sense that canada would basically at some point need to be part of the united states. economically it could not stand on its own. a lot of newspaper editorials and riders at the time throughout the 19th century thought it was a matter of time before canada would be absorbed into the union. the financial and economic necessity, that we did need to waste men and bullets having that fight that would come our way one way or the other. after that, by now, -- in wikileaks there was a document
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about the north american initiative which was a document about how to sell the idea of a u.s. canada merger to the canadians. the idea is not dead by a long stretch but by this point it would be some sort of passive aggressive war. we cut off internet service. i will become canadian in a matter of minutes. [laughter] >> thank you. >> i believe you have a poster, i assume that is the west coast -- the pig war, a close call. whether other things later in history, skirmishes for liquor
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or things that you talked about, that had shots fired or things close to be fired where it occurred? kevin: after the pig war -- >> the 20th century, with the 20's and 30's. kevin: there were no that i know of -- almost wars like the pig war. there are some border disputes, steel island off the coast of maine is an unresolved border dispute between the united
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states and canada. it is sort of maybe jointly held, maybe officially american territory. there are two canadian lighthouse keepers who live there nine months out of the year. i don't think either country feels like pressing it. there was an american guy who used to sail out and put their lobster pots near the island. an american lobstermen who would go out just to plant an american flag in front of the canadian lighthouse as a kind of reminder. that is as close as they are today. >> issues of war aside there are sometimes significant trade disputes over fishing rights between the two countries. is that an outgrowth of these
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earlier low-level conflicts? kevin: i think absolutely. also in 1968, 1969 we sent the ice break for the u.s. manhattan to the northwest passage without asking permission. that caused a great deal of upset. after a verbal war between canada and the united states we agree in the future we would notify canada first leader going to send one of our ships through what they see as their torah to real waters.
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united states a we do not -- the 96 said we do not recognize your claim over the arctic portion of the northwest passage. that is still in the unresolved category. but this is hard to not detect a sense of bullying about that. vladimir putin planted at the bottom on the russian side of metal plaque, he did not do this himself or bare chested, at the bottom saying the arctic is russian. he has some skin in that game, i think. i think that is one of the
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arguments in the book that together the united states and canada can fight off any russian threat. the canadian border with russia is at least until recently defended by a volunteer militia of canadians -- which is what buster brown imagined. >> where do they have a border with russia? kevin: alaska. but i think most of our lobster and fishing rights have been either resolved or we just helped ourselves. ok. thank you very much. [applause] as a publisher i would be remiss if i didn't say there was going to be a book sale and signing upstairs immediately following.
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if you are feeling it, and buy a book -- come up and buy a book. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv all weekend every >> monday is martin luther king day and, with congress not in session, we have featured programs. the house of commons debate on n donaldor not to ba trump in the country. the university of wisconsin "thessor and his book, march on washington."
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ande organized a march everybody said they needed to get his support. , i willuther king said supportyou, but let's expanding the march. john lewis recalls -- recalls the civil rights march in his book. ,n american history television and international history 's cold warn iran partnership with united states. >> they had to look to a third partner -- power against the imperialist him

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