2012 marked the bicentennial of the beginning of the War of 1812. This seemed an appropriate time to hold an international conference revisiting the scholarly debates over the causes, the conduct and the consequences of the War, as well as the way in which the War has been remembered and commemorated in Canada, Britain and the United States. The Conference on ‘The War of 1812: Memory and Myth, History and Historiography’, sponsored by the Canadian Studies programme at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, was held at the University of London on 12–14 July 2012. Nearly 60 papers were given by scholars from Canada, Britain and the United States, making this likely to be the largest academic conference held anywhere focusing on the War of 1812. Because so many papers were given at the Conference it was decided that two issues of the London Journal of Canadian Studies should be devoted to the theme of the War of 1812 and contain papers presented at the Conference. A number of other papers were also published in scholarly journals across North America. Indeed, it is likely that the Conference held at the University of London resulted in the publication of more papers about the War of 1812 than any other conference. The Conference therefore made a substantial and lasting contribution to the existing scholarship on the War of 1812.
In dividing up the papers to be published in the two issues of the London Journal of Canadian Studies it was decided to have one issue containing a selection of the papers on the North American context of the War of 1812 and a second issue containing papers focusing on ‘Canadian Historical Memory and the War of 1812’. The current volume therefore contains papers on the more general theme of ‘The War of 1812: Causes, Conduct and Consequences’. The first paper on ‘The Legacy of the War of 1812’ is by the American scholar, Donald Hickey, whose book on The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict remains the best general study of the War. It is followed by an important original contribution on Imperial-Indigenous negotiations during the War in Eastern British America by John Reid, one of Canada’s most important scholars working in the field of Indigenous history. Two of the papers, by Edward Martin and Faye Kent, offer important perspectives on the ‘Privateering War of 1812’ in the Northeastern Borderlands encompassing Maine and the Maritimes. Sarah Lentz contributes a paper on the much-neglected subject of the financing of the War and Jean René Thuot a paper with broad implications on the subject of the contribution of the War of 1812 to the evolution of French-Canadian identity. The companion volume-Volume 29 (Autumn 2014) – on the Canadian historical memory of the War contains five more important papers, making eleven papers in all.