Glenn A Knight

Glenn A Knight
In my study

Friday, April 27, 2012

I note that a number of the Republican Presidential candidates have referred to the Obama Administration as a "failed presidency." A fellow blogger alluded to this idea the other day, and I put a comment on his blog - Two Masters - which can be reached via the sidebar to this blog.

An interesting thing about failure, is that so much depends upon what one's goal was in the first place. Back in the dim past, in the 1960s and 1970, there was a lot of talk about not being the first American President to lose a war. This was based on the belief, apparently sincere, that the United States had never previously lost a war. In reality, the first American President to lose a war was James Madison. The United States lost the War of 1812, and quite decisively, too. It is true that General Andy Jackson, with help from Jean Lafitte and a passel of frontiersman, beat the British General Pakenham at New Orleans, on January 8, 1815. Unfortunately, the war was already over by then, and the Battle of New Orleans was irrelevant to the outcome.

How do we know that the War of 1812 was lost? Cross the bridge from Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ontario, or vice versa, and you're likely to have to produce some evidence of American citizenship. If the United States had won the War of 1812, Ontario (Upper Canada, as then was) would be American territory today. There is also the embarrassing fact that the British invaded the United States and burned the Capitol and the White House. Not many countries who've suffered that sort of treatment are regarded as having won the war in which it occurred.