For 124 years, from 1690 to 1814,Americans were besotted with the notionthat it would take "a mere matter ofmarching" (in Th omas Jeff erson´s words)to seize Canada and add it to their union.Th e marching began in colonialtimes, in 1690, when Americans, angeredby French-led Indian attacks on theirfrontier outposts, retaliated by sendingan expedition to lay siege to Quebec, thecapital of New France. Th ey sailed homewhen they ran out of ammunition andrum. In 1745, another, and much larger,colonial expedition set sail with the helpof the British Royal Navy, to attack thegreat French fortress at Louisbourg, andmanaged to capture it, leading Americansto believe for years to come they werebetter soldiers than they really were.Serious marching, this timeagainst the new British rulers of Canada,took place during the American Revolutionand the War of 1812. Ethan Allen startedit all in 1775 by attacking Quebec with ascratch force of untrained soldiers. He wascaptured and thrown in prison. RichardMontgomery and Benedict Arnold ledarmies that seized Montreal, but wereturned back at Quebec. Montgomery waskilled and Arnold wounded.Inept and poorly led Americanarmies invaded Canada again and againduring the War of 1812. It wasn´t untilTecumseh was dead and Winfi eld Scottwas in command of a well-disciplinedarmy -- the fi rst in American history -- thatYankee soldiers were able to stand up toBritish regulars. Th e army, in the end, wassaved by the navy, which won signifi cantvictories om Lakes Erie and Champlain.Canada emerged from the war a distinctivenation that to this day harbors a certainambivalence in its thinking about itspowerful neighbor to the south.
James M. Perry began his journalism and writing career at the age of 18 as a staff writer with LeatherneckMagazine. After his graduation from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, he worked for the HartfordTimes and the Philadelphia Bulletin. He spent 35 years in Washington covering politics for The NationalObserver and The Wall Street Journal. This is his seventh book. He was awarded the National Press Club’sFourth Estate Award for a distingished career in journalism in 1997. He and his family divide their timebetween Maryland and New York.