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Canadian Confederation - Essay Example

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Canadian Confederation

It extended from the Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico and Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains. When the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 was passed, the region was broken up into five colonies, Canada, Hudson Bay, Acadia, Newfoundland and Louisiana.
The War of 1812 established the setup of the 49th parallel to border the U.S.A. This line extended from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains. Early on in Canada there were many arising conflicts within the colonies between upper and Lower Canada. These conflicts were between the liberals and the Family compact of Upper Canada who were identified as being rabidly conservative. The financial problems that would develop in Upper Canada would eventually lead to what would become known as the Rebellions of 1837. These rebellions would call for Lord Durham to travel from Britain to assess the problem. It wasn't until after the Rebellions of 1837, a succession of Canadian uprisings that happened between 1837 and 1838, that one would propose that the Canadian colonies be made into one province. It was Lord Durham, and he would convince the British Parliament to pass the Act of Union 1840
Ironically, the main opposition to the Confederation of Canada was not from the British Empire but from within Canada from what was identified as the liberal party at the time. In his article, "Toryism, Classical Liberalism, and Capitalism: The Politics of Taxation nd the Struggle for Canadian Confederation" Andrew Smith argues that the issue of taxation was a major conflict in the struggle to form the Confederation among the four original Canadian provinces (Smith, 2008). "Ajzenstat, Smith, and McKay are mistaken about the ideological nature of Confederation. It is far more accurate to describe 1867 as the birth of a 'Tory-interventionist order' in Canada than of a liberal one (Smith, 2008)." He goes on to point out how the main supporters of classical liberal values, free trade, and low taxes were all Anti-Confederates, and the Confederation supporters were more about economic development. He notes that, "In the 1860s, virtually all British North American politicians believed that some form of capitalist society was desirable. Confederation, however, was supported by spokesmen of a particular vision of capitalism that involved extensive state assistance to private business. The opponents of Confederation were neither more nor less pro-capitalist than their opponents. However, they generally supported a less statist variant of capitalism, one in which taxes were kept as low as possible and businesses survived without subsidies (Smith, 2008)." Toryism represented the conservative following in Canada, where as the traditional liberalism of Canada was identified with a 'deep distrust of government' specifically distant governments (Smith, 2008). The classic liberals came to oppose the Confederation when it became very clear in the Quebec Resolutions that the country was moving towards giving Quebec a greater role in economy.

In an article published in the March 1865 issue of the Oxford Academic, writer Goldwin Smith who was well known to be a classic liberal, condemned the economic ideas behind the Confederation project. Smith argued that, "by adopting the interventionist philosophy of Alexander Hamilton, the framers of the Quebec Resolutions were forgetting that the relative importance of state initiatives decreases 'while those of voluntary action and spontaneous action ...Show more


The Canadian Confederation was established when the Federal Dominion of Canada was formed in July 1, 1867. This federal dominion evolved from the territories colonized by British North America; these were all territories that existed after the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783…
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Canadian Confederation essay example
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