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Fri., Aug. 28
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War of 1812 is important -- just not to New York state government


Three quarters of Americans think the War of 1812 significantly affected America's national identity, according to a survey by the Historica Dominica Institute, but still, history buffs in New York can't get no state funds to help celebrate it.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Gov. David Paterson before him, have vetoed War of 1812 commissions that would help organize events surrounding the bicentennial, even though the proponents say it won't cost anything to the state (the budget office disagrees, saying it'll cost hundreds of thousands).
The war between the young United States and Britain led to the burning of the White House and the creation of the Star Spangled Banner. And much of the activity took place up here in the north country.
The skirmish over whether New York is doing enough to commemorate 1812 nearly turned into a full blown conflagration when a mural in the state capitol building left the contributions of Sackets Harbor and Lake Ontario off a historical timeline. The governor's press office insisted that it was a first draft; it's more likely that it became a first draft after they saw they had messed it up. (Whether this was a swatch to test the colors or a geographical head-slapper isn't exactly relevant anymore. The problem was very quickly remedied and now, Sackets has its very own slide on the timeline.)
Even the New York Times has taken note of the disappointment of some in Sackets, one of the major HQs of American forces.
Here are some other findings of note from Historica Dominica, a Canadian NGO, including Canadians' feelings on Jersey Shore (Newfoundland Shore, anyone?).
Americans (84%) are more likely than Canadians (78%) to agree it's important who won the War.
Had American conquest been successful, Canadians most feared the possible outcomes of sharing US politics and government (60%) gun laws (18%) and citizenship with the cast of Jersey Shore (6%).
Nearly four in ten (36%) of Americans believe there were no significant outcomes of the War of 1812, or none they can name, compared with 23% Canadians.
12% of Americans believe the most significant outcome of the War of 1812 was the burning of the White House and 11% erroneously believe it was the creation of an independent Aboriginal nation, and10% believe it was the election of President Andrew Jackson.
Eight in ten Americans (84%) and Canadians (83%) agree that the War of 1812 was a significant movement in their history.
51% of Americans believe the War of Independence was the most important in the formation of US identity, 25% believe it was the Civil War and 21% believe it was the Second World War.

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