Upper Canada

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22 Mar 2012
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UPPER CANADA (ONTARIO), 1790s-1840: HOW DID A COLONY FIRST SETTLED
BY LOYALISTS WIND UP FACING A WAR AND, LATER, A REBELLION?
INTRODUCTION: The first part of this lecture will deal with the
establishment and settlement of the new colony of Upper Canada from its
creation in 1791 to the end of the War of 1812-14. Part II of the lecture will
deal with the period 1814-40, when the colony experienced a massive wave
of new settlers from Britain, a developing but fluctuating economy, and new
grievances culminating in rebellion. With regard to the War of 1812-14,
although much of the fighting took place here, the causes were external,
rooted in conflicts between Britain and the US. Both before and after the
War of 1812, the largest number of immigrants to Upper Canada were
motivated primarily by economic considerations, first the so-called “late
Loyalists” from the US and, after the War, Irish, Scots, and English from
Britain. Frustrated that UC’s economy and government were being
dominated by an elite - the so-called “Family Compact” - many Upper
Canadians sought reforms, and a few participated in the rebellion of 1837.
Although the UC rebellion lacked both the grassroots support and the
“racial” dimension of the LC rebellion, it helped serve as a “wake-up call
to the Colonial Office.
The Loyalists: origins and settlement patterns; First Nations as Loyalists
and as displaced aboriginals
The “late Loyalists”: far more numerous, pragmatic, and of questionable
loyalty
John Graves Simcoe as UC’s first governor (1792-96): nature and limitations
of his vision for UC
The War of 1812-14: background and battlegrounds; outcomes for natives
and non-natives
PART II
Postwar Immigrants from Britain: motives, numbers, impact
Economic Growth and Diversity, and Uneven Benefits:
The dominant place of agriculture: from early subsistence to production
for markets; wheat as key
The timber industry: British markets; farmer-lumberers; timber barons
and navvies
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