History of Early Canada

By virtue of Article I, Section IV of the Treaty of Paris (1763)Britain found itself pre-eminent on the North American continent. What assumptions did the British make regarding their new French, Roman Catholic population in Canada, and how did they proceed in addressing it? In what ways was James Murray uniquely placed to assist the British government in meeting the challenge of governing this colony? How does the Quebec Act of 1774 reflect an emerging British strategy for dealing with all of the North American colonies? What were the strengths and potential flashpoints within this approach?

The revolt by the American colonies, and the subsequent War of Independence, posed great challenges for both the crown governors, and the residents of Quebec and the Maritime colonies? Why was there not a greater sense of sympathy for the American cause in the places, and why did their populations not (on the whole) opt to support the Americans? What does the Constitutional Act (aka Canada Act) of 1791 indicate about the British Government’s intentions for its remaining North American colonies? In what ways could an individual official like John Graves Simcoe help to influence the shape of a colony like Upper Canada?

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The War of 1812 is viewed very differently in Canada and the United States? Why is this the case? In the wake of the War of 1812, why did the push for “Responsible Government” become so problematic in the British North American colonies, and why did it lead to Rebellions in Lower and Upper Canada in 1837-38? How had patterns of settlement and immigration influenced social, religious, and political relationships inside the colonies? The arrival of “Responsible Government” was ultimately tied to a change in attitude in Great Britain itself where it’s colonies were concerned. Discuss the importance of the repeal of the Corn Laws as a component in the Responsible Government story.

Even with this new freedom to set domestic policies, the crown (via its officials in the colonies) still had to face hard decisions. How did Lord Elgin’s handling of the “Rebellion Losses Bill” help to buttress the overall principle of Responsible Government in the face of pressures from a strong minority? Finally, read the text of the “Annexation Manifesto” and discuss the degree to which it represented a majority feeling in the British North American colonies at the end of the 1840s.

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 History of Early Canada

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