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Confederation: Your First Line of Defense!

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Chuck Simms

on 4 October 2018

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Transcript of Confederation: Your First Line of Defense!

Confederation: Your First Line of Defense!
After the American Civil War, there were fears that the American military could be used to acquire Canada
The American population was ten times larger, and they had a large and modern army
The Americans also proclaimed it was their MANIFEST DESTINY to rule the New World... first the West and then ALL of North America.
Many believed that it was only a matter of time before Canada was part of the USA
The Fenian Raids across the border were intended by Irish nationalists to strike at the British Empire.
Great Britain began to see the colonies in British North America as costly, and were reluctant to counter American military aggression should it come.
Great Britain had offered cautious support to the South, and some feared American retribution.
It was thought that a strong and united sovereign nation would be less likely to fall if victim to American aggression.
Better Government: The Case for Confederation
The Canadas in this time were ruled by a series of coalitions that had no clear party lines.
They survived by doing NOTHING. If anything was too controversial the government would fall.
Even more problematic, the French and English didn't trust each other.
French Canada sought to protect their language, religion and culture...
And English Canada wanted to establish theirs as the dominant one.
Would they ever be able to find a solution?

Canada East (think Quebec) featured two parties.
The Parti Rouge wanted American style government and hated the Act of Union.
The Parti Bleu was prepared to work with English Canada as long as French interests were protected.
In Canada West (essentially Ontario) was also divided between two parties.
The Clear Grits were anti-French and anti-Catholic.

The Tories, led by John A. Macdonald, were more moderate and willing to work with the Parti Bleue
More Problems:
A ‘double majority’ was needed- both Canada East and West had to agree.

The Clear Grits wanted Rep by Pop (representation by population) which favoured Canada West.
Both sides were reluctant to compromise, and neither would support greater union.
Would they ever be able to find a solution?
More Problems:
A ‘double majority’ was needed- both Canada East and West had to agree.
Full transcript