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Internal and External Pressures for Confederation

An indepth look at internal and external factors for Canadian Confederation

Troy Ralph

on 23 September 2016

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Transcript of Internal and External Pressures for Confederation

For the US, it was agreed that they
could fish along the Atlantics shores.
Fish, timber, grain and cattle
were sent to the US.
In return, coal and pork were
sent North.
Britain’s support of the South during the Civil War upset the Americans. Canadians feared US would not renew the reciprocity agreement.

Solution: Free trade among the colonies.

This in turn, pushed the colonies closer together; increasing need for Confederation
Trade (cont’d)
1841: The United Province of Canada consisted of Canada West & Canada East
Each region had equal number of seats in the legislative assembly
Disagreements were common
English-Speaking majority of Canada West vs. French-speaking minority of Canada East were often on opposing sides over the issues.

Two main issues that deadlocked the assembly were:

Politicians from Canada West wanted to expand transportation facilities to improve trade and wealth; they were willing to spend government money to do so. Politicians from Canada East did not want to change their existing way of life; they felt that better links with Canada West would threaten their identity and they resisted attempts to spend tax money on transportation improvements.
Canada West supported representation by population, while Canada East wanted to retain equal representation.
Internal Factor #1
Political Deadlock

Great Britain’s attitude about her British North American colonies was changing. Britain wanted the colonies to be more self-sufficient.

Little Englanders (Small, vocal British group) saw the colonies as great expense and a burden to Britain. People were tired that their taxes and money were all going to support the colonies.

One British Politician, John Bright, summed up the feelings of the Little Englanders in a speech he gave to the British parliament:

“. . . If they are to be constantly applying to us for guarantees for railways, and for grants for fortresses, and for works of defence, then I think it would be far better for them and us – cheaper for us – that they should become independent.”
External Factor #4
Changing British Attitude
As members of the British Empire, the BNA colonies enjoyed special trading privileges.

British Corn Laws had allowed wheat and flour from the BNA colonies to enter Britain with a very low tax (this was called preference because foreign merchants had to pay a much higher tax)

Britain cancelled (Repealed) the Corn Laws in 1846

To increase revenue ($$$), BNA colonies formed a Reciprocity Agreement with the United States.
External Factor # 3

The supply of good, available farmland was starting to dwindle and many people started to look to present day-Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta as possible areas of settlement.

When colonies of BNA joined and annexed these areas, they could settle and claim them before the Americans.

People wished to expand into Rupert’s Land.
Internal Factor #3
Desire for Western Expansion
C.W., C.E., NS and NB had their own railway but they were not all connected.

The railway was needed to increase trade and move troops more quickly in case of war.

The railway would increase communication (quicker movement of mail) and increase business.

An INTERCOLONIAL railway would overcome problems: Mountains and freezing of St. Lawrence.

Due to financial trouble the building came to a halt and politicians dreamed to connect Canada from sea to sea.

Internal Factor #2
Need for Railway
Politicians wanted the Great Coalition to form a federal union.

This would give both C.E. & C.W. its own provincial government.

They would share a Central government – the seats would be divided on the basis of Representation by Population.

Canada West -1 393 000 mainly English-speaking Protestant.
Canada East -1 112 000 mainly French-speaking and Roman Catholic.

Political Deadlock Cont’d
Threat of American Expansion
The Fenians
Changing British Attitude
Political Deadlock
Need for the Railroad
Desire for Western Expansion

Internal & External Factors

What were the advantages for the colonies of British North America of an intercolonial railway? What were the disadvantages? (Answer using a T-Chart)

What are the advantages of free trade?

Why were Americans interested in expansion Northward? (Explain why this is a reason for the colonies to join together).
Vancouver Island and British Columbia
The North-Western Territory
Rupert’s Land (Hudson’s Bay Trading Company)
The Red River Settlement
Canada (Canada East & Canada West)
The Maritimes
1850’s Scattered Colonies of British North America
Fears become reality in 1866.

The Fenians (A group of American Irish Catholics) made several raids across the borders of BNA colonies. Fenians felt strongly about ending British rule over Ireland. Since they could not attack Britain directly, they attacked her North American colonies.

John A. Macdonald turned the raids into an argument supporting the union of the colonies.
External Factor #2
The Fenians

Manifest Destiny- Policy of expansion based on the belief that all of the North American Continent should belong to the USA.

The American Civil War occurred in the 1860’s, between the Northern and Southern States. The British were accused of helping the Southerners flee from the Northern troops. This created an uneasy relationship between BNA and the United States, leading to fear that the Americans would try and expand into the BNA colonies.

American settlers were moving into the Red River Settlement. This was also a fear because the United States could order the Americans to Annex North America.
External Factor #1
Threat of American Expansion

Canada West Canada East
Liberal-Conservative Party (Tories) + Le Parti Bleu (Conservatives)
(John A. Macdonald) (George-Etienne Cartier)
vs vs
Reform Party (Clear Grits) + Le Parti Rouge (Reform Party)
(George Brown) (Antoine-Aime Dorion)

Government in power had a difficult time getting a strong enough majority to pass legislation.
This led to political deadlock and frequent elections and changes of government.
To help solve this problem Macdonald, Cartier and Brown formed a coalition government in 1864.

Coalition- A temporary joining together of two or more political parties
Political Deadlock
British North American colonies join together in a federal union.
Four Provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
1867-Alaska is purchased by Americans from Russia. Would they expand South into B.C.?

Discovery of gold in B.C. attracted thousands of Americans. Would they overpopulate the colony and join the United States?

Red River Settlement was close to the border and it was separated from Eastern Canada. Would the Americans annex?

Americans were angry at the British for supporting the South during the Civil War. Would they attack to get back at Britain?

Fenian soldiers were attacking the border from U.S. Were they attacking with the support of the US?
Pressure Points

This treaty was due to expire after ten years.
For the Canadians, the treaty meant
that they could send their farm
and forest products
to the huge US markets.
What does that mean?
Allow certain goods from the
other country
to be brought in tax (tariff) free.
Reciprocity Treaty- In 1854, BNA colonies signed a RECIPROCITY agreement with the US.
Trade (cont’d)
Full transcript