The Rebellions of 1837: Canada’s First and Last Revolt

In this lecture, historian Pascal Chevrier discusses the failure of Canada’s first and only rebellion against the British Empire as part of the Rising Tide Foundation series “Towards a Harmony of Interests: Inquiries into the True Nature of the American System”

Pascal begins his class by addressing the failure of Britain’s newly acquired french subjects to accept the offer to join in the 13 colonies in declaring independence in 1776 which was driven largely by a “British Bribe” known as the Quebec Act of 1774. This fallacy masquerading as a founding constitution then led into Canada’s second fallacious charter known as the Constitution Act of 1791 that artificially blended oligarchical and democratic institutions together under a system of government that enshrined un-elected hereditary power as the ultimate controlling force of the monarchy and its governing mechanisms.

Pascal elaborates upon the abuses and evil that such un-natural forms of government unleashed in the early decades of the 19th century which led up to the rise of the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada in 1837-38 under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie and Louis Joseph Papineau.

What were the objectives and methods chosen by Papineau which were originally meant to guide Lower Canada to ultimate independence during the 1820s and 1830s and how were these objectives subverted by British operations from without and traitors from within his own cause’s leadership?

How did the pre-mature violence of 1837 led by Papineau’s supposed ally Wolfred Nelson ultimately undo Papineau’s goals and why didn’t the hope-for support from the United States come to the rescue during these tumultuous years?

What were the consequences of the failure to become a republic during these years and how have these failures continued to mis-shape the national consciousness of French (and English) Canadians to this very day?

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