Quebec Into Upper Canada essay example

1,562 words
Prior to the arrival of Europeans in Canada, the area was inhabited by various peoples who came from Asia via the Bering Strait more than 10,000 years ago. The Vikings landed in Canada c. AD 1000. Their arrival is described in Icelandic sagas and confirmed by archaeological discoveries in Newfoundland. John Cabot, sailing under English auspices, touched the east coast in 1497. In 1534, the Frenchman Jacques Cartier planted a cross on the Gasp'e Peninsula.

These and many other voyages to the Canadian coast were in search of a northwest passage to Asia. Subsequently, French-English rivalry dominated Canadian history until 1763. The first permanent European settlement in Canada was founded in 1605 by the sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain at Port Royal (now Annapolis Royal, N.S.) in Acadia. A trading post was established in Quebec in 1608. Meanwhile the English, moving to support their claims under Cabot's discoveries, attacked Port Royal (1614) and captured Quebec (1629). However, the French regained Quebec (1632), and through the Company of New France (Company of One Hundred Associates), began to exploit the fur trade and establish new settlements.

The French were primarily interested in fur trading. Between 1608 and 1640, fewer than 300 settlers arrived. The sparse French settlements sharply contrasted with the relatively dense English settlements along the Atlantic coast to the south. Under a policy initiated by Champlain, the French supported the Huron in their warfare against the Iroquois; later in the 17th cent., when the Iroquois crushed the Huron, the French colony came near extinction. Exploration, however, continued. In 1663, the Company of New France was disbanded by the French government, and the colony was placed under the rule of a royal governor, an intendant, and a bishop.

The power exercised by these authorities may be seen in the careers of Louis de Blade, comte de Frontenac, Jean Talon, and Francois Xavier de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec. There was, however, conflict between the rulers, especially over the treatment of the indigenous peoples-the bishop regarding them as potential converts, the governor as means of trade. Meanwhile, both missionaries, such as Jacques Marquette, and traders, such as Pierre Radisson and M'edard Chou art des Groseilliers, were extending French knowledge and influence. The greatest of all the empire builders in the west was Robert Cavalier, sieur de La Salle, who descended the Mississippi to its mouth and who envisioned the vast colony in the west that was made a reality by men like Duluth, Bienville, Iberville, and Cadillac. The French did not go unchallenged. The English had claims on Acadia, and the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670 began to vie for the lucrative fur trade of the West.

When the long series of wars between Britain and France broke out in Europe, they were paralleled in North America by the French and Indian Wars. The Peace of Utrecht (1713) gave Britain Acadia, the Hudson Bay area, and Newfoundland. To strengthen their position the French built additional forts in the west (among them Detroit and Niagara). The decisive battle of the entire struggle took place in 1759, when Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham, bringing about the fall of Quebec to the British.

Montreal fell in 1760. By the Treaty of Paris in 1763, France ceded all its North American possessions east of the Mississippi to Britain, while Louisiana went to Spain. British North America The French residents of Quebec strongly resented the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which imposed British institutions on them. Many of its provisions, however, were reversed by the Quebec Act (1774), which granted important concessions to the French and extended Quebec's borders westward and southward to include all the inland territory to the Ohio and the Mississippi. This act infuriated the residents of the Thirteen Colonies (the future United States).

In 1775 the American Continental Congress had as its first act not a declaration of independence but the invasion of Canada. In the American Revolution the Canadians remained passively loyal to the British crown, and the effort of the Americans to take Canada failed dismally (see Quebec campaign). Loyalists from the colonies in revolt (see United Empire Loyalists) fled to Canada and settled in large numbers in Nova Scotia and Quebec. In 1784, the province of New Brunswick was carved out of Nova Scotia for the loyalists. The result, in Quebec, was sharp antagonism between the deeply rooted, Catholic French Canadians and the newly arrived, Protestant British. To deal with the problem the British passed the Constitutional Act (1791).

It divided Quebec into Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), predominantly British and Protestant, and Lower Canada (present-day Quebec), predominantly French and Catholic. Each new province had its own legislature and institutions. This period was also one of further exploration. Alexander Mackenzie made voyages in 1789 to the Arctic Ocean and in 1793 to the Pacific, searching for the Northwest Passage. Mariners also reached the Pacific Northwest, and such men as Capt. James Cook, John Me ares, and George Vancouver secured for Britain a firm hold on what is now British Columbia.

During the War of 1812, Canadian and British soldiers repulsed several American invasions. The New Brunswick boundary (see Aroostook War) and the boundary W of the Great Lakes was disputed with the United States for a time, but since the War of 1812 the long border has generally been peaceful. Rivalry between the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company erupted into bloodshed in the Red River Settlement and was resolved by amalgamation of the companies in 1821. The new Hudson's Bay Company then held undisputed sway over Rupert's Land and the Pacific West until U.S. immigrants challenged British possession of Oregon and obtained the present boundary (1846).

After 1815 thousands of immigrants came to Canada from Scotland and Ireland. Movements for political reform arose. In Upper Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie struggled against the Family Compact. In Lower Canada, Louis J. Papineau led the French Canadian Reform party. There were rebellions in both provinces. The British sent Lord Durham as governor-general to study the situation, and his famous report (1839) recommended the union of Upper and Lower Canada under responsible government.

The two Canadas were made one province by the Act of Union (1841) and became known as Canada West and Canada East. Responsible government was achieved in 1849 (it had been granted to the Maritime Provinces in 1847), largely as a result of the efforts of Robert Baldwin and Louis H. LaFontaine. Confederation and Nationhood The movement for federation of all the Canadian provinces was given impetus in the 1860's by a need for common defense, the desire for some central authority to press railroad construction, and the necessity for a solution to the problem posed by Canada West and Canada East, where the British majority and French minority were in conflict. When the Maritime Provinces, which sought union among themselves, met at the Charlottetown Conference of 1864, delegates from the other provinces of Canada attended.

Two more conferences were held-the Quebec Conference later in 1864 and the London Conference in 1866 in England-before the British North America Act in 1867 made federation a fact. (In 1982 this act was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.) The four original provinces were Ontario (Canada West), Quebec (Canada East), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The new federation acquired the vast possessions of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1869. The Red River Settlement became the province of Manitoba in 1870. In 1873, Prince Edward Island joined the federation, and Alberta and Saskatchewan were admitted in 1905. Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador) joined in 1949.

Canada's first prime minister was John A. Macdonald (served 1867-73 and 1878-91), who sponsored the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the west, religious tension and objections to lack of political representation and unfair land-grant and survey laws produced rebellions of M'etis, led by Louis Riel in 1869-70 and 1884-85. The M'etis were French-speaking Roman Catholics who had considered themselves a new nation combining the traditions and ancestry of Europeans and native peoples. Under the long administration (1896-1911) of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, rising wheat prices attracted vast numbers of immigrants to the Prairie Provinces. Between 1891 and 1914, more than three million people came to Canada, largely from continental Europe, following the path of the newly constructed continental railway. In the same period, mining operations were begun in the Klondike and the Canadian Shield.

Large-scale development of hydroelectric resources helped foster industrialization and urbanization. Under the premiership of Conservative Robert L. Borden, Canada followed Britain and entered World War I. The struggle over military conscription, however, deepened the cleavage between French Canadians and their fellow citizens. During the depression that began in 1929, the Prairie Provinces were hard hit by droughts that shriveled the wheat fields. Farmers, who had earlier formed huge cooperatives, sought to press their interests through political movements such as Social Credit and the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation (now the New Democratic party).