Rebellion in Upper & Lower Canada Part I: The Causes

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  • Rebellion in Upper & Lower CanadaPart I:The Causes

  • Quick OverviewAfter 1812: British North America was:Upper Canada (Ontario)Lower Canada (Quebec)New BrunswickNova ScotiaPrince Edward Island

  • Lead-up to Rebellion1830s saw two rebellions erupt in NA:Lower Canada: led by aristocratic Louis-Joseph PapineauUpper Canada: led by newspaperman William Lyon Mackenize

  • Lead-up to Rebellion continuedCauses for both rebellions were similar:Colonial government was out of touchColonial governments give power to small group of rich, influential men = OLIGARCHY

    But differences were:In U.C. = ideological & political crusadeIn L.C. = added complexity of race & language

  • Causes of Discontent in Upper Canada#1: How the colony was governed#2: The rulers of the colony#3: The problem of land#4: Transportation problems

  • #1: Government of Upper CanadaRoot of the problem was in having an elected assembly under control of an appointed councilest. by Constitution Act (1791)Britain appointed a Governor to control oligarchy Lieutenant-Governor per colony (appointed) highest rankLegislative Assembly looked democratic - all men owning property could vote2 appointed councils actual power held by them & L.G. could VETO anything proposed by AssemblyAssembly could block govt, but not lead itnew laws/spending had to be approved by both

  • #2: Rulers: Family Compactsmall group of powerful people in Upper Canada made up appointed councilsdidnt want US government to be part of Canadian governmentdefended tradition (Conservatives)believed power should be in the hands of few capable people (themselves) believed Church of England should have power loyal to Great Britainwanted govt to build canals, improve business

  • #2: Rulers: Chateau CliqueCoalition of wealthy landowners, merchants, government officers in Lower Canadasame system as Upper Canadaaggravated by fact that elected members mainly French CanadiansGovernors handpicked council were Anglo merchants

  • #3: Land Grievancessettlers complained loudlyspeculators (Family Compact) & absentee landowners overpriced or tied up prime landLess than 10% of land was producing crops (all the good land was actually in the hands of the rich)Displacement of Aboriginal peoples to give land to the Family Compact1/7 Clergy Reserve the best land Anglican church in Upper Canada and the Catholic Church in Lower Canada

  • #4: Transportation ProblemsPeople led to believe upon immigrating: could buy cheap landwould have access to towns and marketspoor roads caused hardship & discontentClergy& Crown reserves lay idlescattered aroundnot clearedblocked road developmentfarmers had to wind their way around reserves

  • Reformers and What they Opposedpower of family compactwanted changes in government/society of Upper Canada Robert Gourlay: Scottish land agentdid survey, list of grievances, petitiondeportedWilliam Lyon Mackenzie = newspaper (The Colonial Advocate): spoke out on land problems, power of CompactElected to Leg. Assembly, leader of reform movementLouis-Joseph Papineau: leader of parti patriote in L.C.aristocratic reformerfought both for radical reforms & to preserve traditional French-Canadian values

  • ReformersRobert Gourlays campaignLouis-Joseph PapineauWilliam Lyon Mackenzie

  • Causes of Discontent in Lower Canada found British rule w/o democracy hard to accept (exposure to revolutions) colony controlled by oligarchy of merchants and ex-army officers all ENGLISH speaking English seemed to have most advantages (80,000 English vs 420,000 French) felt French society under attack: attempt to join colonies in 1822, tried to make English official language of the Union

  • Feelings of NationalismEnglish-speaking immigrants everywhere! meant to solve French problem?govt worked to change seigneurial system to freehold land system (offered land in E. Townships to people from British Isles)ships arrived with cholera-stricken Irishplot to kill French off with disease?discriminationunequal taxation (farmers)lack of power within government