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HIST 3850 Lecture Notes - Matchlock, Personal Identity, Brown Bess

Course Code
HIST 3850
Patrick J Connor

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Feb 15, 2013
1530s French colonists began to arrive and settle in the colony of New France. A lot of these
settlers were farmers; fur trade (i.e., beaver) was a valuable and driving commodity. There was
competition between French and English and French forbade the Natives in NF to trade with
First gun shooting in Canada 1609 Samuel de Champlain; Huron v. Iroquois Champlain shot 2
Iroquois leaders Huron and Iroquois were blown away by the use of guns, and this is when they
began to use guns and weapons that the Europeans had brought. Guns became a symbol of status
and prestige
1636 French revised their trade policy and began trading firearms
British also traded their guns with Aboriginal peoples
HBC purchased for trade over 480-1000 guns/year
Mid 1800s As Canada developed, the use of guns decreased; the need for guns declined even
more due to rural societies
Before confederation there were very few limits to the use of guns; restrictions in place were
usually temporary
Gun control had typically been enacted for 3 reasons:
o Political trying to limit the guns to friendly and useful Natives (i.e., Acadians’ right to guns
was seized because they didn’t want to pledge allegiance to the British)
o Safety fear for public safety
o Immigrants
There was an understanding among colonists that they had a right to own guns it had less to do
with self defense, and more because of property and that every person was entitled to the right of
life, liberty and property under due process
English Bill of Rights, 1689
Types of guns changes of technology had an effect on which technologies were used and by
o Matchlock needed a lit match and gun powder
o Wheelock an improvement because you no longer had to walk around with lit matches
o Muskets
o “The Brown Bess”
Class and Gender issues guns were seen as an elite pastime, and shooting clubs were reserved
for elites
French weren’t outright banned from the clubs
Little need for anyone in Canada to hunt their food in the 19th century and those who hunted
were looked down upon because it was expected that you’d go work
Hunting was a form of masculinity
Late 1800s politicians complained that in the 1850s revolvers show manliness
There was hesitation on the part of the government to ban guns
Sir John A. Macdonald personally opposed towards regulation of guns
o In 1869 guns were necessary for personal protection
Edward Blake, member of parliament, introduced legislation regarding pistol use riots, suicides
and murders were being too common and with pressure of society he introduced this legislation
He didn’t advocate banning revolvers, but crafted the legislation so that the use of pistols was for
select individuals
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