The General Society of the War of 1812 is a gentlemen’s organization exclusive to those who can trace their ancestry back to veterans of the conflict. Their website, steeped in patriotism, proudly displays a photograph from their 2019 meeting in Washington D.C., complete with 56 smiling, white faces. The General Society’s stated purpose is to “perpetuate [the War’s] memories and victories” (General Society of the War of 1812, n.d.). What is glaringly absent from the memories they preserve are the indigenous perspectives of this time period that make the story much richer and more complex.
Earning one’s cavalry spurs has always been considered an act of honor and respect since the civil war (Montazzoli 2019, 1). However, for the past few decades, people began to question whether or not spur rides were actually an act of honor or just another form of hazing because of the mental and physical stress they entail (Mattson 2012). However, if the army doesn’t consider it hazing, then what is it?