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The Influence of liberal ideas in Lower Canada (1791-1837)

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Presentation on theme: "The Influence of liberal ideas in Lower Canada (1791-1837)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Influence of liberal ideas in Lower Canada (1791-1837)

2 Vocabulary Liberalism: the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights (free speech, freedom of religion) Legislative Assembly: A collection of people elected by a part of the population in order to represent it in government Veto: The rejection of the passage of a bill into law

3 Statue of Liberty: goddess of liberty. Gift from France for American liberal revolution

4 A Parliamentary System Influenced by the ideas of liberalism, British colonists, Loyalists, and prominent Canadiens demanded a legislative assembly. The Constitutional Act (1791) – creates two new colonies: Upper and Lower Canada A legislative assembly was created in each colony. This was a more democratic system of government than before, the governor and the Councils still held most of the power. The governor could veto any bill he did not like.

5 A parliamentary system After the 1792 elections, the members representing the Canadiens had a majority (more than 50% of the seats) in the House in Lower Canada. They tried to protect Canadiens’ rights. The parliament fought over everything. Things like who would be the Speaker of the House, what language was to be used, and how to tax the people.

6 Example of the difference between Canadien and British ideas in Parliament Money was needed to build new prisons. Taxes had to be increased to do that. But how? British members suggest a land tax. The Canadiens representatives object because this would hurt the Canadiens people that vote for them because the majority are farmers. The Canadiens suggest a tax on imported goods. The British representatives object because this would hurt the British merchants that vote for them. The Canadiens representatives use their majority to pass the bill.

7 The Press and the spread of political ideas By 1805, printing presses were much more common in North America. In 1805, two new political parties had formed in Lower Canada, Parti Canadien and the British Party, each with its own newspaper. They used these newspapers to promote their political ideas and attack their opponents ideas. These newspapers were not meant to be objective. They were meant to be one-sided.

8 19 th Century Printing Press

9 The Quebec Mercury (British newspaper)

10 Le Canadien (Canadien newspaper)

11 The Society and the Economy Around 1810, Napoleon blockades Great Britain ships from trading with Europe. Britain needs timber to build ships. It starts to get its timber from Canada instead of Europe. The timber trade replaces the fur trade in importance. There is a severe agricultural crisis in the 1830’s. Poor harvests make life very difficult for Canadien farmers. They start to give up their traditional agricultural way of life and work in the timber trade. Canadiens feel increasingly more resentful towards the more prosperous British. The British business class dominate commerce.

12 French Naval Ship

13 The Society and Economy (cont) The Canadien liberal bourgeoisie protected the interests and rights of Canadiens. British immigration increased the number of British colonist in the population.

14 Vocabulary Responsible government – A government where the members of the executive council are chosen from the majority party in the Legislative Assembly. Ministerial Accountability – If the councilors in the Executive Council lose the support of the Legislative Assembly they must resign.

15 Towards and affirmation of Canadien nationhood In the 1830’s, Canadien members of the Legislative Assembly, who followed the ideas of liberalism, demanded ministerial accountability. In 1826, the Parti Canadien became the Parti Patriote. After 1830, those members that wanted to see greater change, became radical and created militias to oppose British rule. In 1834, the Parti Patriote sent the 92 Resolutions to London. It laid out all the complaints the Canadiens had with the British authorities and what changes the Canadiens would like to see.

16 92 Resolutions and Russell’s Resolutions Some of the 92 Resolutions:  - an elected legislative council  Management of the governor’s budget by the Legislative Assembly  More Canadiens in the civil service  Protection of the French language  Ministerial accountability Lord Russell in London, flatly refuses all of the Resolutions and allows the colonial administration to take further money from the Legislative Assembly.


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