Canada and the Durham Report

What issue was faced by the British in Canada in the early 19th century?
The prospect of an American-style revolution in the Canadian colonies.
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How did Britain gain the Canadian colonies?
Through the Seven Years' War in 1763, the Peace of Paris granted Britain all of New France
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What was the 1791 Constitution?
Established the political system in Upper and Lower Canada
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What was Upper and Lower Canada?
Upper Canada = British: Lower Canada = French + loyalists from USA fleeing revolutionary war
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How else were they the same and different?
They had different land tenure systems, languages and religion. Political system = the same
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What attracted settlers to the new Canadian colony?
"Loyalists" (whose loyalty was sometimes questionable) seeking free land grants
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What happened to these grants?
In 1825, due to poverty, the free land grants system moved to a system of sale by auction. Canada Company set up to trade land
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How was Upper Canada governed?
Lt. Governor, appointed by London. Tax-raising powers held by local Leg. Assembly
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Who were the Executive Council and who were they loyal to?
Power exercised by Ex. Counc. and Lt. Gov. in tandem, responsible to London, not local assembly.
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Issues with Executive Council?
Members chosen, could remain on council for life, removed by Lt. Gov.
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Who were the Family Compact?
Notable families who maintained control of council, exercising power for their own benefit.
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What factors bound members of the Family Compact?
Loyalist tradition, Anglicanism, refusal to accept any changes that might weaken their power
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Who were the Legislative Assembly?
Elected by landowning males, 16 members.
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Who were the Legislative Council?
Seven appointed members, appointed for life
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Issues with Legislative Council?
Often members of Executive Council, laws passed by assembly had to be approved by LC, appointed members could block laws made by elected reps.
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What did Lord Durham say about the Family Compact?
"A petty, corrupt, insolent Tory clique"
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How did landownership work in Upper Canada?
All land owned by the Crown, free land grants legitimate.
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What about indigenous people?
It was recognised that they had claims. Treaties provided remuneration for land
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How much land was owned by the church?
1/7, profits from sale or rental going to Anglican church
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What religious problem was there?
British convinced supporting Anglicanism would win loyalty, majority population not Anglican
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What legislative issue did this create?
FC were devoutly Anglican, so any reform was impossible
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What economic issues did Upper Canada face?
Lacked infrastructure and capital investment, investment meant gov't cash strapped
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What issues did this create?
Attempted to raise revenue by sidestepping assembly, no opportunity to influence spending in the colony
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What frustrated the Reformers?
Revenue raised by the sale of land to the Canada Company was used to pay officials.
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What added insult to injury?
Unable to influence the Lt. Gov. through the traditional means of refusing to vote money to pay for salaries.
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What did the term "responsible gov't" mean
Removal of the Family Compact and their stranglehold on Leg. Assemb.
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What did Robert Baldwin call for?
Constitutional reform whereby the Exec. responsible to Canadian voters, not London
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What was landownership in Lower Canada like?
Seigneurial land system, land given to a landlord who would grant the land to tenants.
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How were the habitants protected?
The relationship between the seigneur and the habitants was overseen by the state
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What did the Quebec Act 1774 grant?
Free practice of Catholicism, French civil law for matters of private law
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What contributed to racial tensions?
The influx of British loyalists from the American colonies
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Who were the Chateau Clique?
An English-speaking oligarchy consisting of British loyalists selected by the executive councils
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How were the Chateau Clique kept in check?
French population larger, views dominated Leg. Assembly. Opposed any moves that were an attack on French identity
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Who were the patriotes?
French speaking professionals who sought reform to the system
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What did they want?
Their French identities to be protected, represent the interests of the small merchant and the farmer
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What motivated the patriotes?
The plan to unify Upper and Lower Canada
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Who was Lord Dalhousie?
Governor of Lower Canada who was at loggerheads with the French Canadians
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What happened as a result?
The assembly reached the point of refusing to vote money for the payment of officials, Dal. prorogued (suspended) the Assembly
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How many people signed a petition for his removal?
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How did the British hope to prevent a revolt?
Giving local institutions financial autonomy, allowing French Canadians to keep their legal system and religion
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What made tensions between the colonies and Britain inevitable?
Exec. power rested in the hands of a British-appointed Lieut. Gov.
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What was the Canada Committee?
A parliamentary select committee that reported grievances in Canada
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What did the Canada Committee's report say?
Proper management of the Constitution by the Lt. Gov. would end the issues. Britain simply had no solution.
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What was the issue with the Committee?
On every point except for constitutional reform, Committee upheld complaints of the assembly, but suggested no means for change
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What was a contentious political issue in Britain at the time?
Electoral reform (as per Durham), the Whigs neglected Canadian Parliamentary reform as a result
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What was the Howick Act?
Transferred the revenue from duties on Canadian goods to the control of local assemblies in the provinces
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What was frustrating the reformers at this time?
The lack of constitutional reform granted by Britain
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Who was Robert Baldwin?
Robert Baldwin and his father attempted to define responsible self government, Baldwin wasn't in Canada at the time
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Who was William Lyon Mackenzie?
A less radical reformer, which had been attacked by the sons of the Family Compact in 1826.
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What was the issue with immigrants?
Many were Irish, stereotyped as poor and feckless, concerns buoyed by cholera epidemic and 1837 financial crisis
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What issues were there with the actions of the Lieutenant Governors?
Colborne bypassed legislative assembly by using tax revenues to pay officials' salaries
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What did Colborne do that exacerbated tensions in the colony?
Allocated income from clergy reserves for ongoing support of 44 Anglican parishes across the province, attempt to establish Anglicanism more firmly
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What was Head's initially positive policy that turned out to be bad?
Invited some moderates onto the executive committee seemed positive, but he then forced them from office when they complained about not being consulted
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What effect did this have?
Removed reformers from legislative assembly, convinced them that they now had no legal means to influence government
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What was the result of the 1836 election?
A victory for Head, delivered a pro-government majority
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What new laws were passed?
A law extending the session of the legislative, a law preventing members of the legislature from serving as executive councillors (attempt by Family Compact to ensure control)
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What were Committees of Correspondence?
Aimed to begin drilling men in what was a conscious imitation of the American model
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What motivated Mackenzie to launch the revolt?
The arrest of patriote leaders
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What was the plan?
To attack property identified as belonging to members of the Family Compact
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What was the result of the revolt?
Mackenzie achieved very little, loyalists dispersed the protests and Mackenzie fled and was arrested
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What were the results of the revolt?
Rebels and rebel sympathisers fled, talk in Upper Canada was only of loyalty to Britain, Britain blamed the actions of the family compact, resolved to reform
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Who was Papineau? (Lower Canada)
A politician from an old seigneurial family who was anti-British, a French-Canadian nationalist who opposed British control
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What were the 92 Resolutions?
A long list of political demands by the patriotes, including elective councils and protection of French-Canadian identity
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What were the issues with the economy?
The economy was failing and the habitants suffered hardship, leading to greater social unease.
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What other issues were there?
Cholera outbreaks brought by immigrants led to tension.
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What was the most pressing issue for the British?
How to pay the salaries, as Papineau's assembly wouldn't agree to British shared economic control of the province
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What was the Gosford mission?
A mission led by Lord Gosford to deal with the issues in Lower Canada
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What issues did this create?
It failed to address the issues the patriotes considered important,
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What were the Russell Resolutions?
They were passed by Parliament, rejecting constitutional reform, allowed the governor to use public funds without the consent of the assemblies
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How much was it calculated that the Canadian gov't owed the British?
£142,160 14s 6d
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How did the patriotes respond?
They held large public meetings and called for the boycott of British goods and free trade between LC and the USA
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How did Lord Gosford respond?
Increased British military presence, issued a proclamation banning protest meetings, then banned all public meetings
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What was the immediate aftermath of the revolt?
500 patriotes in the jails of Montreal, British passed an act suspending the 1791 Constitution of Lower Canada on 10 Feb. 1838
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How many rebels did the British suspect were involved?
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What lessons did the British draw from the revolt?
They wanted to re-organise the colony so French-Canadians couldn't command a majority, reign in the Chateau Clique
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What did the British need in a solution?
Protect the rights of British settlers while tackling the system of land tenure that the British viewed as being responsible
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How did Durham show his autonomy from the British gov't?
Durham took his chosen advisors with him despite criticism
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What did Durham do when he arrived in Canada?
He removed the old executive council, signed a proclamation promising to work with those who sought peaceful reform
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What did Durham do to political prisoners?
Durham pardoned the majority of political prisoners but banished the "most" guilty to Bermuda
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What was the Bill of Indemnity passed against Durham?
Declared his actions in pardoning political prisoners illegal
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Why did Durham resign?
Melbourne refused to back Durham publicly because his weak gov't could not afford it
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What did Wakefield and Buller do?
Wakefield influenced the system of land grants, where land was sold rather than given to colonists to encourage more respectable settlers
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What was Buller's policy?
B. was sympathetic to French-Canadian rebels, arguing that it was British policy that drove them to revolt
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What were the principal recommendations of the Durham Report?
Unification of Upper and Lower Canada, rescinding of rights granted to French Canadians under the Quebec Act, responsible self-government for the new province
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What did responsible self government mean?
The legislative assembly would be elected, but the party with the majority would hold power and exercise it through cabinet government
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Why did Durham support the rescinding of the rights of French Canadians
Argued that it would improve the economic situation of the habitants + promote growth.
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What were the issues with the Durham Report?
Made no reference to indigenous peoples, stripped French Canadians of their rights, it was only applied in white settler colonies
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What happened at the vote for Union?
Upper Canadians cheerfully voted for it, aware that it would help their colonies' economic standing, and the Lower Canadian Assembly was suspended so they couldn't protest
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What were the long-term impacts of the Durham Report?
Responsible self-government extended to white settler colonies such as Australia, NZ
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


How did Britain gain the Canadian colonies?


Through the Seven Years' War in 1763, the Peace of Paris granted Britain all of New France

Card 3


What was the 1791 Constitution?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What was Upper and Lower Canada?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How else were they the same and different?


Preview of the front of card 5
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