Main Themes – HI 375 12/5/2013 9:51:00 AM
1) Assess the changing legal status of married men and fathers over the years 1867 to 1969. Account for any
significant legal changes:
Father‟s custody of children: Until the nineteenth century, children were regarded as property
Men controlled business affairs, politics, domestic economy, a family's property holdings and the decisions as to
how children were to be raised, educated or sent to domestic service or apprenticed in a trade. Women‟s earnings
could also be claimed by spouse
Late Victorian social conventions created separate spheres of influence and social respectability for males and
females. With industrialization/urbanization = came dramatic changes in the nature of the family
As the patriarchal heads of the family- fathers were deemed entitled to persons/services of their offspring
Ont. Legislature 1887 moved to restrict judicial discretion
Judges based their decisions on child‟s surroundings/circumstances
Until late 19 c. mothers only obtained custody only where fathers had serious defects of character
Suggests an overall preference for a patriarchal structured family unit
Agents of the law, and the laws as written, intruded on domesticity and family formation. For much of
the time period under study this week, married women had little control over their property assets
attained before marriage or through inheritance. Married women had a status under the law that was
equivalent to the custodial status of children and the insane.
During the 1930s, the courts still scrutinized the sexuality of married women allowing men to end marriages due
to a lack of sexual “consortium” without offering the same recourse to women
However, by the 1920s a husband's adultery was finally being viewed as an actionable offence in divorce cases in
English Canada, at least under certain limited circumstances. Slowly and incrementally, the old legal barriers
governing heterosexual relations in marriage were beginning to be redefined.
2)Analyze and discuss the legal and socio-economic plight of Canada's Asian, Black and/or First Nations
minority families from 1867 to 1950.
The dominant majority sought to construct a safe, "pure nation” through the regulation, exclusion, and
discrimination of ethnic immigrant minorities.
In 1896: New immigrants would meet the manpower demands of industry, farm the prairies, and create the
increases in passenger and freight demand needed to offset the costs of upgrading and maintaining the
transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway.
The arrival of immigrant groups from outside Northern Europe prompted traditional religious denominations and
moral reformers to establish Sunday schools, adult education programs, missions, and settlement houses in Canadian
cities to teach English and promote cultural assimilation, while prospective non white immigrants faced
exclusionary policies and laws. Blacks in Canada lived lives on the margins of society in older rural and urban areas of Canada where their over
representation amongst the working class and impoverished element of Canadian society made them continued
targets of bigotry.
Asian immigrants would also face hostility, prejudice and derogatory stereotyping by the white majority. The
Chinese, in particular, would become targets of the moral regulation movement and exclusionary labour and
1868: Aliens and Naturalization Act (under Parliament) first federal Act to be passed
provided that persons that had been previously naturalized in any part of the Dominion possessed the same status
as anyone naturalized under that Act
Aliens could apply for naturalization after three years' residence in Canada.
Alien-born women became naturalized by marriage to a natural-born subject or to a husband naturalized under
The laws in Nova Scotia and the former Province of Canada that allowed aliens to hold property were kept in
The grinding issues of food, shelter, health and social justice confronted especially by native minorities.
1857 Gradual Civilization Act
Established that in Canada West and Canada East, Natives were considered to be non citizens and subject to
treatment as lesser status individuals.
This act was designed to take away status defined by treaties in voluntary exchange for the right to vote and
recognition of the individual's entitlement to full British North American citizenship
Between 1869 and 1950 13 post-Confederation Indian Acts dictated the rights, privileges and obligations of
Canada's First Nations peoples= enforced a system of status based on paternity regardless of culture
The residential school program spread west= family dynamics were disrupted by the forced absence of school
aged children but by efforts to instill discipline and Christian values by denigrating native traditions
The poverty and restrictions of reservation life further dislocated traditional roles as men were to replace women
as farmers and settle into a sedentary life= native women forced in domestic sphere
1850s: Residential schools for Aboriginal children – established by federal law
For Natives, government poverty and intrusion into family dynamics and community life were consequences of
overt policies aimed at assimilating Canada's First Nations peoples. Residential schools for native children were
a key feature of government policy aimed at assimilation even before Confederation.
1883: Head tax imposed Chinese immigrants
1885 further Chinese emigration to Canada was discouraged by the implementation of a $50.00 head tax.
1888: Aboriginal Ceremonies made illegal
1910: Immigration Act
1914: Naturalization Act Even in predominantly white society, moral regulation was