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Lecture 18

Lecture 18 - Society and Economy in British North America

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Heidi Bohaker

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 o 1851 census that shows 50% of the people in the Upper Canadas were born outside of the Canadas o Upper Canada had a gender imbalance of more men than women o Canada East - Quebec - most people Canada-born and had a strong sense of their identity - they were also gender balanced o Atlantic - mature colonies 3/4 were born in the colony o Demographically young society - 50% of the population under 17 years of age Daily Life  Agrarian Society o More people can afford to have their own farms  Urban Growth o Urban growth in this period, 57,000 people in Montreal o Predominately walking cities and the centre are their markets o If you are a single woman you want to live in the city o Not known for urban planning - "higgelty piggel
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