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Canada, Rebellion of 1837–1838

John Robert Henris

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Northern America » Canada

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

Key-Topics rebellion, revolution, rights

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00299.x


The Canada Rebellion of 1837 and 1838 resulted from a number of disparate political and social grievances that increasingly gained momentum among political reformers and the rural populace during the 1830s. In Lower Canada, Louis-Joseph Papineau led the Parti Patriote and spoke out against the power of the Chǎteau Clique, a group of wealthy British and French Canadian businessmen wielding almost absolute political authority in Lower Canada. Papineau increasingly agitated for reforms providing individual voters, as well as the elected assembly, with more political power. In Upper Canada William Lyon Mackenzie led other reformers against a group of similarly privileged officeholders known as the Family Compact. Despite the seeming collusion of reformers in Upper and Lower Canada, there were substantial differences. A strong current of French Canadian nationalism ran through many of the supporters of the Papineau faction, while many of McKenzie's rural supporters originally came from the United States and harbored particular resentment toward the monopolization of large tracts of land by the Anglican Church. Such longstanding grievances were only exacerbated by the agricultural and economic crisis of the 1830s. The international wheat market collapsed and harvests were poor on a number of occasions during the 1830s as well. In May of 1837, Patriot leadership learned that the British ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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