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20 Feb 2011

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HIS263 Feb 10
The two Twenties
The Elusive Twenties
The image of the Twenties is often very optimistic
Cars and fashion and other forms of popular culture begin to explode
But there was also unrest, uncertainty and pessimism
We tend to think of phenomenon and tie them to a decade
We use decades as containers of phenomena and these dont always correlate
The Search for Political Stability
The first half of the twenties can be recognized as a search for political stability
This period produced the first minority government in Canadian history
The Progressives appear on the scene as a separate political party
William Lloyd Mackenzie King takes over for Laurier after his death in 1919
He faces challenges from the west and particularly from the east (The Maritimes
Rights Movement)
The Rights Movement is a coalition of a variety of social group, particularly
business interest
This flowed form the declining economic and political power of the maritime
The Maritimes population was growing too slowly compared to the rest of Canada
The maritime economy had moved into a period of long term stagnation,
particularly the industrial economy
They tied these grievances to emerging regional patriotism
They argues for high tariffs to protect maritime industry and for better railway
rates to encourage trade
They argues this points for an economic interest and also because it tied the
economy from the east to the west
The Progressives broke from the existing party structure but the Maritimes worked
from within the structure and appeared as liberal until 1925, when they switched to
the conservatives
In 1921, King was in a difficult situation
King required the support of the progressives from the west who wanted lower
tariffs and from the east, the Maritimes, who wanted to higher tariffs
However, King is an amazing Politian and a master of building the coalition
building games
Kings solution was to largely ignore the Maritime movement and to cater to the
moderate progressives
King uses Royal Commissions to his advantage
The effect of this strategy is initially to continue the instability
The Assault on Prohibition
Prohibition was enacted in all provinces except Québec
Canada was dry as of the end of WWI
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