Americans (77%) Believe War of 1812 Important to National Identity and (91%) that all Americans should know about it

A new poll shows US better at promoting its history than Canada

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - With the arrival of the War of 1812 Bicentennial, Canadian heritage NGO, The Historica-Dominion Institute, has commissioned a bi-national poll from Ipsos-Reid to measure Canadian and American attitudes of the hotly contested conflict.

The study reveals telling national trends about how Canadians and Americans view and value the War of 1812 and other history. While strong majorities believe that the War significantly impacted national identity (77% Americans, 79% Canadians), significantly more Canadians (77%) identified important outcomes of the War than Americans (64%, with 31% selecting the creation of the Star Spangled Banner). In addition, Canadians (17%) are much more likely than Americans (3%) to feel that 1812 is the most important war in the formation of their country's identity.

Nevertheless, Americans are still more likely to believe that commemoration and promotion of their history is important. In fact, 80% of Americans and 77% of Canadians agree that the War of 1812 Bicentennial is an important commemoration and that their national government should support it.

Americans show greater civic spirit in the promotion of their history, despite agreement that the War of 1812 is considerably less important than other more formative wars in US history. Americans are significantly (7%) more likely to say that the War of 1812 should be mandatory teaching in school and 20% more likely to say that they learned about it in school, suggesting that Americans are better at telling and teaching their national stories than Canadians. Not surprisingly, a majority of Americans (58%) versus a minority of Canadians (49%) agree that their nation is good at promoting its history.

"Canadians and Americans have been debating the War of 1812 for two hundred years," said Jeremy Diamond, Director at The Historica-Dominion Institute. "This study reveals important differences in how we approach our history in Canada and the United States, but it also shows overall agreement on the fact the War of 1812 and its commemorations are important to our history and identity."

Other findings include:

  • 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, and 10% 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.

The Historica-Dominion Institute is the largest independent organization dedicated to history and citizenship in Canada. Its mandate is to build active and informed citizens through a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history, heritage and stories of Canada. Full survey results are available at

SOURCE The Historica Dominion Institute

For further information:

Media Inquiries:
Davida Aronovitch
1.866.701.1867 x 222

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