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Changes in Colonial Government: The Durham Report and Responsible Government.

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Presentation on theme: "Changes in Colonial Government: The Durham Report and Responsible Government."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changes in Colonial Government: The Durham Report and Responsible Government

2 Context and Key Questions Context: Britain has lost 13 colonies, only 6 remain Noted similarities between conditions leading to rebellions of 1837/8 and the American Revolution. Critics of British government accusing it of neglecting the North American colonies in terms of leadership and in allowing local democracy. Key Questions What did Durham identify as the causes of the 1837/8 rebellions? What does responsible government mean and why did Durham recommend it? How did the Act of Union affect the relationship among the five colonies? How did responsible government come about in Nova Scotia, and the Canadas (Upper and Lower)? What geographic and cultural characteristics discouraged cooperation among the colonies?

3 Lord Durham The Man: John “Radical Jack” Lambton Powerful voice of reform in 1830s Advocated for secret ballot and extended voting rights Born 1792 Died 1840 The Job: Head Commission of Inquiry into 1837/8 Rebellions Make recommendations for the future of Canadas. Serve as GG. “People who wanted to see political change in the colonies were pleased by Durham’s appointment.” Why?

4 Lord Durham (II) The (Original) Idea: Joining colonies of Upper Canada, Lower Canada and Maritimes into single legislative union. The Benefits: Prevent local oligarchies from controlling political life. Increased tax-base to fund large-scale projects The Reaction: NO WAY. Why? The (Next) Idea: Union of Upper and Lower Canada only. Supported by William and Robert Baldwin. Robert Baldwin

5 The Proposal Responsible Government is… A system where the government is responsible to the elected Assembly and the people who elect them. A system already in existence in Britain at this time. The Baldwin Brothers’ Proposal: Colonial Governor (British appointed) serves as Head of State Governor must choose Executive Council from the elected members of the Legislative Assembly. Governor must accept the advice of the council on domestic matters. Governor (and Britain) maintains control over foreign affairs. Where does the true (domestic) power lie with this system? I would ask Your Lordship, would the people of England endue any system of Executive Government over which they had less influence than that which at present exists [in the Canadas]? Your Lordship knows they would not. Can you then expect the people of these colonies with their English feelings and English sympathies to be satisfied with less.. They can see a reason why their relations with foreign countries should be placed in other hands: but none why their domestic concerns should not be managed upon similar principles to those applied in the administration of the Imperial Government…” Robert Baldwin to Lord Durham August 1838

6 The Proposal (II) Baldwin’s ProposalExisting Structure The Baldwin’s Proposal Appeals to Durham… 1.Form of government similar to Britain’s (familiarity). 2.Responsible government for local issues (thus silencing complaints). 3.Acceptable to important leaders in all 6 colonies. One exception… 1.No responsible government extended to Lower Canada. Why? Unfavourable view of Canadiens, and yet treated rebel leaders leniently.

7 The Report Causes of Conflict in Lower Canada Industrial Economy vs. Agricultural Economy “I expected to find a contest between a government and a people: I found two nations warring in the bosom of s ingle state…It will be acknowledged…that sooner or later the English race was sure to predominate even numerically in Lower Canada.” Causes of Conflict in Upper Canada Clergy Reserves “as most emigrants are not members of the COE, the disproportion is likely to increase…I know of no mode of this question being settled but by repealing all provisions in Imperial Acts that relate…to the clergy reserves…” On the Union of the Canadas Solution to political, cultural and economic problems: assimilation. “I have little doubt that the French, when once placed by legitimate course of events and the working of natural causes, in a minority, would abandon their vain hopes of a nationality.” On Responsible Government Noted envy of colonists of economic prosperity and democratic system of USA. Annexation a real threat. “this is the last effort of their almost exhausted patience…and that the government of the colony should henceforth be carried on in conformity with the views of the majority of the Assembly.”

8 The Report (II) Reactions: Oligarchies (FC, CC) Fearful See pg. 61 Atlantic Colonies Supportive “two prime recommendations, being perfectly simple and eminently British.” Reformers (British, Colonial) Content “Death to the Family Compact and up with the Durham Constitution!” Canadien leaders Insulted Tories (British, Colonial) Saw as an attack on their privileges and power. Questions 1-4 on Page 61.

9 The Act of Union Colony vs. Nation

10 The Act of Union (II) Accepted Union of Canadas into one colony Debts merged into one. Canada West and Canada East. One elected Legislative Assembly- each Canada had equal representation. ** Denied Structures to impement Responsible Government.

11 The Act of Union (III) Opposition Canadien moderates. Catholic Church Supporters British government Approved 1840 (July), Proclamation 1841 British minority in the Canadas. Why? Industrialisation vs. agriculture Bigotry Editorials on voting rights qualifications Tory-dominated Assembly in Upper Canada Qualifications: Loan to cover newly combined debts. Relocation of capital to Kingston English the only official language.

12 Responsible Government: Maritimes No large recent immigration No bitter French/ English divide Powerful Elites Twice led non confidence votes against Governors Appointed to Executive Council Forced withdrawal of 3 governors 1847 Election- Reformer Victory NS NB PEI NL Joseph Howe

13 Responsible Government: Canadas Baron Syndenham First governor of United Canadas Two tasks 1.Bring economic prosperity. Success! 2.Prevent introduction of responsible government. Forced to end practice of lifetime appointments to Executive Council. Divided Clergy Reserves amongst all Churches. Clergy Reserve Revenues used to fund schools. District Council Act LA Support

14 Responsible Government: Canadas (II) GG Reformers /Opp. Syndham GG Dies Robert Baldwin (Canada West) Lafontaine (Canada East) ALLIANCE

15 Responsible Government: Canadas (III) GG Reformers /Opp. Bagot GG Resigns Robert Baldwin (Canada West) Lafontaine (Canada East) ALLIANCE Seeks support: invites to Executive Council

16 Responsible Government: Canadas (III) GG Reformers /Opp. Metcalfe GG Appoints friends to power Robert Baldwin (Canada West) Lafontaine (Canada East) ALLIANCE End of mercantilist system

17 Responsible Government: Canadas (IV) Election 1844 Tories win a majority. Metcalfe (GG) appoints Tories to Executive Council Election 1848 Refomers win large majority. Metcalfe has resigned, GG is now Elgin (Durham’s son in law), Secretary is now Grey (Durham’s brother in law). Elgin calls upon Baldwin and LaFontaine to form Executive Council. They select from their Assembly. Test # Rebellion Losses Bill Elgin did not favour passage; signs it. Test # tariffs (20%) on imported goods to raise money for public works. British merchants upset, British government threatens to dissallow, but eventually backs down.


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