October 15, 2013
Key Words Notes
- 1815-1865: Strategic Situation
- Colonial devolution – “Responsible government”
- Non-State intervention:
Sir Allan Macnab
Generals sent to Canada:
- Durham (radical Jack)
- Macleaod (Alexander)
- Van Buren
The Treaty of Ghent puts an end to war, but it also beings two
centuries of peaceful relations.
Why? One answer is that neither side after 1815 really saw any
profit in going to war with the other. In other words there was
nothing the either side thought it could gain.
a. In the British case the British were preoccupied with
Europe in the years after 1815.
b. The British were building a world wide empire. Great
Britain is exceedingly prosperous during this period. So
prosperous and able to afford its defense was that no
one saw any point in challenging Great Britain.
c. So this 50 years period down to the 1850s is one in
which we can say that Great Britain is strategically
invulnerable. There is really no ability on the part of any
country to challenge the British Empire or Great Britain
itself. d. The instrument for enforcing British power is the Royal
Navy. The period of 1850 – 1855 is one where there is
no rival to the Royal navy.
e. After 1850 the French simply give up.
a. The French have their own internal problems between
1815 and 1865.
b. France has the Bourbon restoration. 1815-1830.
c. 1830-1948 the Orleans monarchy. The king of France
during this period is protryaed by cartoonist as a pear
d. 1848 the second revolution (third if you count the one in
1879) this produces a second republic.
e. And the second republic falls into the hand of Boney’s
f. Napolean makes himself the President of France and
hen proceeds to proclaim himself emperor. Thus the
The French have a lot to do and were not interested in
confrontining Great Britain. French relations with Britain
during this period are really basically good. There are moments
of tensions, however the French and British are getting used to
the idea of not going to war every 25 years.
How does this effect Canada?
- it means that the royal navy is controlled by the north
- To the extent that the pacific was also controlled by them.
The Americans have not forgotten that they were defeated in
the war of 1812 and that the Royal navy had been decisive in
that war. that counts for the large number of forts along the
American atlantic cost. They all date from this period and they
are obviously directed at defending territory that could not be
defended by the US navy.
The prof view is that the Americans at no point were pushed to
contemplate the war with Great Britain after 1815, but
remembering 1815 they sure did not want to have one.
The British on their part did not do anything in North America
that would provoke the Americans.
One may wonder why the Americans did not continue their
interest in Canada and that will become more clear once we
The British north American colonies:
a. Organized to get an assembly for the first time in its
colonial structure, Newfoundland resembles the other
British American colonies.
- Nova Scotia, Peince Edward Island, New Brunswick, lower
and upper Canada. Their government is top down and bottom up. The result is that there is a strong potential for
stalemate between eh elected assemble and the executive. If
one is wondering how that would work just turn to
Washington at present.
The British colonies are receiving immigrants by 100,000 and
the birth rate is high. So the colonies are acquiring a population
that provides a demographic base for an independent economy.
As a the population grows that both reflects prosperity and
And inevitably there is a clash between the executive and the
The British in this period had a surplus of generals. They had
just come out of 20 years war and there were all these
unemployed generals. So the British sent the generals to
Canada to become governors. The average general is not the
best politician. It meant that if they had to deal with colonial
politicians they would regard them as a particularly
insubordinate variety of corporal. That eventually creates a
revolutionary situation, which in Canada is exhabirated by the
fact that Lower Canada is majority French.
- Both upper and lower Canada develop a radical political
movement in the 1820 and 1830s which in 1837 breaks
into armed rebellion.
- The rebellion is fairly serious. There is loss of life. The
rebels came marching down Yonge Street. They got up to
Englinton. They ran into the sheriff of York County. The
sheriff was lined up with militia men who fired at the rebels
lead by W.L Mackenzie.
- Mackenzie flees with his men. Then Mackenzie decides that
he better get away, so he visits the wife of the neighbor
emerges cross dressed and arrives at the American frontier
to lead the rebellion from outside
This brings in the international aspect of the 1837-1838
Lower Canada Rebelion:
- Lower Canada the rebels were lead by Papineau.
- He had the same idea as Mackenzie. He also ran away,
however in this case he left his followers behind and they
were delt with by one of the British generals: sir john
- Colborne was an excellent general. He had a problem he
could understand. There was the enemy, fire.
- So the rebels in lower Canada are defeated by Colborne who
then conducts on a campaige of terror designed to show a
what would happen if they dared to raise their muskets
against Queen Victora.
So terror in prof. opinion surpresses the rebellion of 1837-
1837 in both upper and lower Canada. The terror in Upper Canada is somewhat more muted in Upper Canada. However in
both cases the Rebels were tried and hung or sent in exile in
Bermuda and Australia.
Colborne could be regarded as a figure of British Canada? The
prof thinks that he certainly made a contribution to what the
country eventually became.
Mackenzie and Papineau are now in the US and we come to the
question of non-state intervention. The world isn’t a
Westphalian world. State boundaries are permeable-not
impermeable. Ideas travel from state to state. Causes travel
from state to state. People in one country may see people in
another as requiring ..? that you should intervene to save them
from their local tyrant.
In the US of course this is ampliphied by the fact that Canada is
a British monarchial country.
- Almost by definition the Canadians need saving.
- So there is a fair amount of sympathy in the US especially
along the border for the oppressed the Canadians who are
being harrased by British generals.
- Not surprisingly there is a movement for informal
What Mackenzie and Papenie do is recruit foreign sympathizers
(not all Americans) to harass Canada and invade candaa in
order to overthrow the monarhcial government. So we do have
a potentially dangerous situation on the canadian/american
border in 1837-1838.
The American republic is larger than the Canadian republic in
terms of population. It is richer, better developed and unlike
1912, the frontier is right up against the border. There are not
the same kind of transportation difficulties that there had been
before. So everything depended on the American president-a
man named Martin Van Buren.
- Vanburen is a democrat.
- Does not want a war with the Great Britain.
- So the American exective proclaims non-intervention, sends
troops to the border- not to invade Canada but to keep
So an American generals who had been caputured in Queen
heigts in 1812 in enforcing Van Burens orders along the
Canadian border. There was something to enforce, because
Mackensie and company were raiding Canada across the
- they had captured a Canadian Island in the middle of the
Niagara River - Navy island.
- They were using that as a base to attack the Niagara
- They were supplied by a steam ship called The Caroline.
- The Caroline would steam over to Buffflow and get reinforcements, get supplies and so on and take them over
to Navy island.
- Sitting on the Canadian shore was a colonial sir Allan
macnab. He is a Canadian despite the knighthood. His
militia decided to do something about this.
- What they do is row over to the American shore and
capture the Caroline and cut it lose from the moorings and
set fire to it and let it drift over the falls.
- One American was killed, someone who had been aiding the
- This Caroline affair is important in international law.
Without understanding it Macnab had contributed to the
evolution of international law.
- Obviously the President of US did not like the British
intervening on US soil, killing American citizen, destroying
American property. In response, you were tolerating people
supplying Rebels who were attacking British soil, so you
bought it on yourself. Our action was justified.
This does not resolve for another 3 or 4 years, by which point
there is a new admin in Washington and the secretary of state
is a man by the name Daniel Webster. Who is a New England
politican who is a specifically minded gent. Webster in a
dispatch to the British enboy in Washington establishes the
- for internevetion for an attack across the interntional
- Caroline test specifies conditions under which that might be
- The phrase that is used is “anticipatory self-defense”
- You are not actually being attacked right now but you know
you will be for sure and you cannot not respond. You have
to move in anticipation of an inevitable attack.
- Another word for this is preemtion. And it counts as self-
defense, which is permitted under the UN charter and has
been part of international law since time of moral. You are
allowed to defend yourself.
- Even if you are anticipating a bit nevertheless you have no
- This is the Caroline test. It is used in the Nuremburg trials
- it is also used in the Iraq war in 2003.
- If you are assessing an outbreak of war or an attack across
interional boundry, the only way you can justify it is by
applying the Caroline test. This is preemtion and it derives
from this strange little incident in 1837-1838 along the
Niagara river involving Canada’s miniture revolutionary
What happens in all of this? The crisis gradually subsides, there are raids along the Canadian/American frontier but the
American policy of discouraging such raids was eventually
successful. Colbourns policy of pacification was successful. And
in Upper Canada hadn’t supported the rebellion anyway. The
rebellion of 1837-1838 is a big event in British politics. The
Queen started discussing the Canadian situation with her Pri