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History 1810E - Lecture 1.docx

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Department
History
Course
History 1810E
Professor
Margaret Mc Glynn
Semester
Winter

Description
History 1810E Monday January 6 Lecture 1 The Old World World War I • Many of the things that we recognize as modern existed during the First World War (airplanes, wireless communication) o Therefore we relate to it as a modern war • In ways it was more ‘premodern’ – it had more elements of the 19 century than the 20 century (more ‘old world’ than ‘new world’) o Example: a postcard was the main way of communication between individuals (eg. if you were inviting someone to a party, wanted someone to meet you at the train station, if you were a contractor and had a bill that was owed). Most people didn’t have telephones, so people used postcards to communicate things that we would now use text/email/phone for. o Assignment: Document Analysis  You will be doing research on a postcard that you will be given, taking a simple form of communication and finding the meaning in it  It will be more revealing than it seems at first glance (the small nuances of life, what it was like living in this country in 1914…)  You will learn more in your tutorial this week • The focus of this section is on Canada in the First World War o We will look at what it was like for the generation of people who went to war in 1914 Note: There is no textbook assigned for this section of the course, but weekly readings will be posted online Outline: 1. The 1880s 2. Village of Waterdown, Township of East Flamborough 3. Working 4. Living 5. Dying 1. The 1880s • The Generation of 1914 – a name coined by Robert Wohl o Referred to people who were just the right age to fight when the war began in 1914 (between the ages of 18 and 45) o The average soldier was 26 years old when he enlisted (born in the 1880s) • There was an absence of technology • There was virtually no government in evidence o An important feature at this time of Canadian history o Now we’re used to government being everywhere, but in the 1880s, it was difficult to find any example of government activity o Municipal - there may have been a constable at the municipal level to keep the peace, but there weren’t many municipal services) o Provincial - the only element people cared about was the roads department (otherwise you wouldn’t care about what the government was doing) o Federal - The only part of the federagovernment you would see was the post office o There were no drivers licenses, no health card, credit card, OHIP card, there wouldn’t be any identification of any kind you would carry with you on a regular basis (you would have a birth certificate, but you wouldn’t carry it with you) o No sales tax, no income tax o No LCBO stores • It was common for people in this time to not know specifically when they were born (they would know the day, but not the year) o People didn’t do things in society based on their age • Standard time – In 1880, there was no such thing as standard time o Noon was the time when the sun was overhead, so it could be a different time in Kingston, Montreal, and Toronto o Standard time zones didn’t come until 1883 o Though we would find this distressing (we live in a time-sensitive society), it didn’t matter to them what time it was o Most people didn’t have clocks (they worked and slept according to the sun)  Most shifts for workers would start at sunrise 2. Village of Waterdown, Township of East Flamborough • Population of Canada was 4.3 million, and 2.3 million of that lived in rural areas o Any village incorporated was considered urban, so in reality, over 90% of the population would live in rural areas • The township of East Flamborough is located at the southern end of Lake Ontario • It had one main settlement, Waterdown • Dundas Street runs through the town, leading you to Toronto • Waterdown was incorporated in 1878 (considered an urban area) 3. Working • People didn’t tend to have a single job that they did for their entire lives – they were multiskilled, and multitaskers o People would do three different kinds of work at three different times of the year (eg. carpentry work, farm labour, clearing the roads) o eg. seamstress, veterinarian, nurse • What people worked at was governed by the seasons o The main business in this area was agriculture – farms and orchards • Almost everything people consumed was produced within a radius of 15 miles (everything was produced locally) o Included vegetables, grains, livestock • They used horses for farming o There was a ‘Society for the Recovery of Stolen Horses’ that met every year to ensure that no horses were stolen • Picking fruit became a social event (the upper class did this as well) • There were a large number of factories, but they were small-scale operations (less than 100, maybe 60 or 70) o Although they were small operations, they were enough to make the village self-sufficient o More people would work
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