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Confederation of 1867

By efremkaaa Jun 12, 2011 784 Words
Union is power. Work in unity is better than working individually. That is why the British North Americans thought of confederation. An individual or single power will most likely have a hard time fighting against a group of people with lots of power. The colonies wanted to join together so that they could fight against the United States. If the groups of colonies didn’t join together, they wouldn’t have the power to prevent the United States from controlling all of North America. There is also other reasons for why the Confederation of 1867 happened, like the ending of BNA’s trade relations with Britian and the U.S., the Fenian Raids, Political deadlock, and the impact of “Manufast Destiny” as the main cause of Confederation. With the threats of the Americans, that they were trying to invade the colonies a few times caused a big problem for Canada. The Americans could have easily invaded Canada at that time. “Manifest Destiny” is the belief that the Americans have, they thought that they could control all of North America, as the United States of America Secretary of State, William Seward said, “I know that God intends that this whole continent shall be, sooner or later, within the magic circle of the United States.”(Doc 1.) The political deadlock was part of the reason why confederation happened. The government from both Canada East and Canada West couldn’t pass any of the laws, because they needed “double majority”. The problem that the French and the English had, were that they were not agreeing on everything. So nothing got achieved. As the Politician of Canada East said: “ We have five colonies and in order to become a great nation they need only to be brought together under one central Government. The matter comes down to this, either we form a British American Confederation or we will be absorbed into the United States of America.” (Doc 7) The other group called the Fenian Raids were attacking the colonies with the reason of potato famine. They thought that the British invaded Ireland and blamed that the potato famine was caused by Britain. Many Fenians were soldiers in the army for the northern states. They captured Fort Erie in May of 1866, but later lost control and headed back up to Buffalo because of their back-up troops. That same year, they crossed into Quebec, staying there for two days as well as ineffectively attacking the New Brunswick border. Together the Canadians joined to defend the Americans. Another significant reason which led to the Confederation of 1867 was the ending of BNA’S trade relations with Britian and the US. Both Britian’s repeal of the Corn laws and the US ending of Reciprocity Treaty left Canada in depression and no place to send its goods. Through confederation the colonies would remove any tariffs which would allow them to freely trade their goods between the colonies. The united colonies would benefit from a natural trade relationship and would experience their own economic prosperity. In contrast, there are also factors opposing Confederation, like economic would have on the Maritime Provinces. Many of the population of Canada West argued that “Confederation opens a wide field for industry, experience and and ambition.. most classes of the population will gain from the union and none that I can see, can possibly lose by the union,” (Doc 4.)as said by John MacDonald who was a politician of Canada West in a letter to Prince Edward Islands in an attempt to convince the Maritimes to Confederate. In conclusion, the minority of the population, primarily the French, argued that confederation was a negative implication on preserving their culture. The majority of the population felt that through Confederation the unification would create powerful trade interaction between the colonies and the ability to defend itself from the potential threats. After all, the confederation was finally achieved in 1867. Sir John A. Macdonald then became the first prime minister of Canada. He stated that “If we wish to be a great people, if we wish to form a great nationality, commanding the respect of the world, able to hold our own against all opponents...this can only be obtained by Confederation. If we so not take advantage of the time, if we show ourselves unequal to the occasion, it may never return, and we shall hereafter bitterly regret having failed to embrace the opportunity now offered of founding a great nation..”(Doc.10.) The BNA act united the provinces of Canada with the colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Ever since then Canadian’s celebrate Canada Day to mark when Canada was considered as one nation.

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