HIS263Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Lower Canada, Cholera, Typhoid Fever

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6 Apr 2012
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Society and Economy in British North America at Mid-Century: Life
in a Revolutionary Age
Small Worlds & Major Revolutions
Technological Innovations
o Railroads
1850s pivotal in railway construction - very rapid
Economy built around the system of post-house and carriage - changes
The post-houses fall by the wayside, and towns that are lucky to have the
railway run through have a boom, and the others are not as successful
Moves people and goods from point A-B much, much faster
Connections between rural and urban
City products could go out, and country products go in
Daily papers are reaching the countryside
o Electric Telegraph
Samuel Morse invented it - beginning of the era of electronic communication
First time when ideas are travelling faster than people
Lines were laid with the railway so that trains could be organized
Send and receive at the train stations
1851 PEI had an underground telegraph line, 1855 Newfoundland connected
TransAtlantic communication began - 1858
1861 true transatlantic and North American telegraph system was in place
Business was revolutionized - receive stock prices instantaneously
Wire-press services begin in 1850s, Associated Press actually began in 1840
Economic Transformations
o Factory production and no longer hiring people that can make a whole object, but
do one repetitive task
o Free-er trade
Revolutionary Ideas
o Europe becomes Revolution hotspot
o People reacting to Economic and Social Change
o Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto - working-class overthrow the owners and
make a classless society
o Queen Victoria 1837 - takes throne and by 1850s there is a cult of domesticity -
focus on family and an interest in moral regulation
British North America: Small Worlds in the BNA
o Most of these people are happy to be attached to the British Empire
o Take a demographic survey of the Northwest coast until the gold rush the
population is mostly aboriginal
o 2.5 million people in all the BNA colonies in the Eastern part of North America, and
only 25,000 are first nations
o Recent immigrants vs those born in the colonies
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