The Durham Report and Responsible Government in Canada.

So we know that Great Britain messed up.  They taxed the United States into rebellion in 1776 and blamed it on too much freedom. Determined not to mess up again, Great Britain forced an oligarchy on what remained of its British North American colonies (Canada).  To no one’s surprise, this led yet again to rebellion in 1837 in Upper and Lower Canada.  Still unsure of why their colonies had this nasty habit of rebelling, Great Britain appointed Lord  “Radical Jack” Durham to both govern its North American colonies and also find out the causes of the rebellions.

Durham told of his findings in the now famous (guess what?) Durham Report.  Basically, he reported what the United States knew decades earlier: People generally like a say in how they are governed (i.e. responsible government).  The thing is, Great Britain rejected the Durham report! Instead, they opted for a kind of hybrid between Durham’s recommendations and what they had already established for government in the colonies. This led to among other things, the Act of Union in 1841, separation of English and French speaking Canadians, separate schools and overall a unique (or weird) political system that would be a forerunner of Canadian Politics.  Here is how it went down:

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Canada: A Country of Leftovers

As we have seen, our country was formed out of what was left over from the American Revolution. Remember, that the most coveted territory in North America was the Ohio Valley.  The United States was finally granted the Ohio Valley after Great Britain conceded it to them in 1783 at the Treaty of Paris.    So the new country of the United States of America consisted of The 13 Colonies (now states) and the Ohio Valley in 1783.

Map of eastern North America in 1783.

British North America was left with Quebec (Upper and Lower Canada), the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, PEI,and New Brunswick), Newfoundland and Rupert’s Land (The Northwest). This is hardly what Great Britain had wanted of its North American empire.  Imagine Canada as being the equivalent of this:

Image result for leftovers.

Although wouldn’t you agree that sometimes leftovers make the best of meals?