16 Jun 2011

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011
HIS311Y1 - Summer
Prof. C. Pennington
Lecture 3: Birth of a Dominion: Canada and the World
British North America 1783-1812
1783: the date of the conclusion of the American War
IMP: the British government conceded on the independence of the United States (officially)
finalized and reshaped the boundaries of North America
the British were initially the colony of Quebec, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia
massive defeat: probably the greatest defeat the British empire faced
The Loyalist influx
they were not welcome in the United States anymore
~50 000 immigrants came to British North America
the bulk of them went to the Maritimes
a significant minority arrived at Western Quebec
shortly thereafter they began to ask the British government for a colony of their own
The British had to make the decision to allow integration or split the people to live in separate colonies
Constitutional Act 1791 (Upper and Lower Canada)
formally divided the British colony of Quebec into two parts
Lower Canada: geographically vast but population was concentrated around the Great Lakes
Lower and Upper Canada is in reference to their position in relation to the St. Lawrence River
similar structure of both colonies:
each had a governor - a British appointee in charge of military; had a sway in day-to-day affairs
democratic assemblies: had limited authority and could be overruled by the monarchy
IMP: it was however the early stirrings of representative democracy in Canada
very different colonies:
civil law: common law system in Upper Canada; Civil law in Lower Canada
there was very little to unite the two
TheLate Loyalists
75 000 (as of 1812) people immigrated to Canada
the percentage of growth was striking
who were these people?
The Loyalists aka United Empire Loyalists formed the nucleus of Upper Canada
when it came to government appointments, economic contracts, etc., they were the preferred benefactors
however the majority of these new settlers were Late Loyalists
they were American settlers who did not fight for Britain but they were finding the limits of arable land
in the United States and there was land to be had cheaply in Upper Canada
John Simcoe: 1st Governor-General who encouraged emigration
dangerous move because it asked for people who were not loyal to the British crown to join them
he believed that people might come for the land but they would embrace life in Canada as something
better than what they had in the U.S.
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IMP: Late Loyalists inhabited Upper Canada before The War of 1812
Reasons for the war of 1812
Anglo-American tensions
the war was not Canada against the US - it was Britain vs US
stemmed from tensions that had never been resolved from conflict of the first civil war
the British were in conflict w/the French (Napoleon) thus had little time for North American affairs
the Brits thought nothing of impressment: going into ships and taking stowaways from the British navy and
forcing them into service on British ships
1807 Chesapeake Affair:
gun battle between British and US ship
the British were refusing to respect US commercial ships
because for British it was to do whatever would win them the French war
“Manifest Destiny’
coined by John OSullivan in the 1840s
it was a wide believe that this was gong to inevitably happen
that the whole of North America would want to become free and American
it was believed in the US that this was the natural course of events: colonies eventually would want to be
liberated from British rule
IMP: it spoke to the British mindset at the time
was Canada an easy target?
it was assumed that it would be a very simple task to take over the Canadian colony
seemed unlikely that the late loyalists would take up arms against US only a few years after they left America
“a mere matter of marching” - thought they would be treated as liberators by the Canadians
it wasn’t off base
British were in no position to defend the colony
population of American states was immense compared to that of Canada
Major-General Isaac Brock (1769-1812)
career military officer
born in England
entered army as a teenager
served all over the world
arrived in Canada in 1802
1811: was promoted Major General and was made responsible for the defense of Upper Canada
things were left in Brocks hands as the Governor-General was in Europe
Brock didn’t want to be here
He didnt care for Canadians although heralded as a Canadian hero
July 1812: quote from Brock - explained how colony had defeatist mindset: they thought it would be inevitable
- had very lil fate in the people
he was commanding and loved by troops
he was prepared to rally the people
Tecumseh (1768-1813)
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Shawnee chief born near Springfield, Ohio
had been fighting all his life against the US
w/his brotherThe Prophet’ led an aboriginal struggle for independence and a native confederacy (a 3rd colony)
long time enemy of US; feared by Americans
Tecumseh was willing to strike alliance w/ British as they had similar goals at the time
correspondence of the time speaks of his sadness; attributed the win to US, but still willing to maintain the fight
there is a fatalism of knowing how ones efforts are going to end
1812 - Advantage in Upper Canada
Brocks strategy
sent out an expedition to Michilimackinac
as the colonists would rather wait and see if they wanted to fight the British
they drew the enemies in
Bluff at Fort Detroit
extraordinary but successful
August 1812
it was a fort that was much easier to defend than to attack
w/ Tecumseh they started a deceptive strategy to strike fear
there were only 300 Red Coats with them
they came up with the plan to put the other men in Red Coats
there were 600 natives under Tecumseh
he put them all into the woods hollering and screaming and then marching them single file - making the
natives seem much more wild and greater in quantity than they actually were
General William Hull
Brock sent a letter to the US commander
in it he said that if the natives got out of hand they could not be controlled and Brock would not be
Hull panicked and surrendered
IMP the surrender and Brocks efforts gave Canadian people confidence in Brock
Queenston Heights
October 1812
US attempted a siege against Brock
this is where he was killed
Canadians were able to hold out and conquered the battle
it was essential that the territory did not fall into American hands
Brock himself became the 1st Canadian hero
the colony was successfully defended and a legend was born
ordinary militia had fought greatly - it boosted Canadian confidence
the tide turns 1813
burning of York
pillaged & burned after British garret retreated
Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams
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