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Rebellions Of 1837 Essays

1837-38 Lower Canadian Rebellion


In 1791, the Constitutional Act was passed, which meant that Upper and Lower Canada would be run by a House of Assembly and Legislative Council who were appointed to these offices. The Legislative Council was responsible to governor all of the provinces but many conflict arose with the House of Assembly, when they wanted to do anything. Three of the main issues that the Council had with the Assembly was control over the expenses and revenues, they wanted an executive that was not connected the Assembly, and control over the provincial civil service. The Legislative Council had great power but the Assembly ignored their legislation. The Assembly refused to give them finances for their projects, which was the beginning of the rebellion.

Since they could never agree on anything, by late 1837 a rebellion started to assemble in Lower Canada. These armed insurrection were pushed by many factors to start the rebellion, the downturn of the economy in the 1830s, the failure of crops in 1837, which led to farmers nearly starving to death, the increase of people from the British Isles, and an outbreak of cholera, which was brought to them from immigrants. These are the clashes that led to it because the Assembly refused to give any money for bills that could help them. This put public works and the government at a standstill, which made the problems worse without a solution.

In March of that year, the assembly rejected all of the demands that the Patriotes, who were the rebellions, had requested. So the Patriotes boycotted British goods and started to hold rallies to get some change. Then in November 1837, the government tried to arrest the leaders of the Partiotes but they fled and the rebellion started. The three main battles of the rebellion were the Battle of St Denis, which the rebels won, the Battle of St Charles, and the Battles of St Eustache, which both were won by the British forces. Since the government knew about the insurrection, they were prepared and crushed the battles quickly. That was when Louis Joseph Papineau and other leaders fled to the United States.

Many other rebels followed to support Papineau and in November of 1838, they returned to start an uprising but were quickly stopped again by the government. Since this created so much damage done during this rebellion, the Rebellion Losses Bill was passed in 1849, which showed Canadians that their government can be responsible and the rebellion was a thing of the past.

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Were The Upper And Lower Canada Rebellions In 1837 A Success?

The Rebellions of 1837/1838 in both Upper Canada and Lower Canada were attempts and attacks at their current government for various reasons. The rebellions in Upper Canada were to bring about an American style democracy, while the rebellions in Lower Canada were largely due to discrimination against the French, unequal taxation, and lack of power within the government to bring about any reformation. In the end, the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada had a profound impact on the future of the British coloniesTo an extent, the rebellions in both Upper and Lower Canada did not have much of profound impact on any British colonies immediately, especially as hoped. To begin with, the rebellion in Upper Canada failed miserably because of the lack of military experience from the rebels, and, as a result, it wasn’t very threathening. The Upper Canada Rebellion was a lost attempt for change, which, at first, just resulted in severe punishment, such as death, flogging, hanging, and “transportation”, for the rebels. Aside from providing “entertainment” from watching the public hangings, the government became more strict and severe, an unplanned result, although the government did begin to investigate the problems. In addition, the rebellion in Lower Canada also failed miserably and was short-lasted, thus it didn’t have much of an impact immediately, as the government just arrested the leaders and supporters. By angering the government, the rebellions also caused the government to concentrate more on punishments for the rebels, such as transportation to Australia, instead of working on fixing the colony- an unplanned short-term result. Aside from these failed rebellions, as severe punishments were the last thing on the rebels’ minds, their was no immediate impact on the colonies and the rebellions could very well have been done in vain.

However, even though the rebellions in both Upper and Lower Canada in 1837 didn’t have a significant or planned effect on the future of the British colonies immediately, these rebellions definitely had a profound and positive long term effect on the colonies. After the rebellions, Britain, later on, realized that change was necessary in the colonies, and, thus, ordered Lord Durham to investigate the...

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