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Canada in 1862
1862
eighteen sixty-two

In the 1860s, colonists in British North America became concerned that the United States would try to fulfill their philosophy of manifest destiny by taking over all of North America. The fears were worsened when, during the American Civil War, Britain supported the Southern Confederate Army. When the Northern Yankees won the war, fears the Northern army might continue to fight by invading British territory grew. Also by the 1860s, the legislature that had been formed to govern the new Province of Canada could no longer function. No political party gained enough support from both the Francophones and Anglophones to form a majority ― a situation that resulted in 12 different governments in 15 years. To end the deadlock, John A. Macdonald, George Brown and George-Etienne Cartier joined to propose a larger union of British North America. Such a union would increase protection from an American invasion, and would also make trade among the colonies easier ― something that became even more important in 1866, when the United States ended free trade with Canada. The East Coast colonies had already called for a conference to discuss a union of the Maritimes, and the Canadians asked to be invited. At that conference in September 1864, the delegates agreed that a federation of the Province of Canada and the East Coast colonies would best serve all their interests. After a second conference in Quebec in October 1864, the final details were agreed upon in London, England, in 1866 - the federal government would control defense, trade, and other matters of national interest, and the provincial governments would have power over local matters like roads and education. The British government supported the initiative and passed the British North America Act in March of 1867.

On the first of July, 1867, the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario (formerly Canada West) and Quebec (formerly Canada East) were united as the Dominion of Canada.

Boundary Changes

  • 1863 British Columbia expanded to present-day boundaries (excluding Vancouver Island)
  • 1867 Confederation: The Dominion of Canada is created by uniting the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Canada. Canada East and Canada West are renamed Quebec and Ontario-a total of four provinces

GLOSSARY TERMS

manifest destiny: American expansionist beliefs predominant in the 1840s that the United States was destined to spread their control over the whole continent, by force if necessary.

John A. Macdonald: Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1815, Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada and was the main force behind the British North America Act and the union of the provinces into what is now Canada.

George Brown: A major political figure in the conferences leading up to Confederation. He left politics in 1865 and continued his pre-politics career as journalist, having launched the Toronto Globe in 1843.

George-Etienne Cartier: Prime Minister of the Province of Canada and one of the Fathers of Confederation, Cartier dominated Quebec politics for a generation.

British North America Act: Law passed by British Parliament on March 29, 1867 providing for Canadian Confederation. Until 1982, when it was replaced with the Canada Act 1982, it also served as Canada's Constitution.

GLOSSARY TERMS

manifest destiny: American expansionist beliefs predominant in the 1840s that the United States was destined to spread their control over the whole continent, by force if necessary.

John A. Macdonald: Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1815, Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada and was the main force behind the British North America Act and the union of the provinces into what is now Canada.

George Brown: A major political figure in the conferences leading up to Confederation. He left politics in 1865 and continued his pre-politics career as journalist, having launched the Toronto Globe in 1843.

George-Etienne Cartier: Prime Minister of the Province of Canada and one of the Fathers of Confederation, Cartier dominated Quebec politics for a generation.

British North America Act: Law passed by British Parliament on March 29, 1867 providing for Canadian Confederation. Until 1982, when it was replaced with the Canada Act 1982, it also served as Canada's Constitution.





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