The Crisis of 1830-1842 in Canadian-American Relations

By Albert B. Corey | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

THE year 1842 ended a distinct era in Canadian-American relations. It was an era in which crisis followed crisis in quick succession. Had the American people understood Canadians better, or their form of government and their relations with Great Britain more adequately, it is problematical whether they would have urged the annexation of Canada or have entered so enthusiastically into attempts to free that country from British control. There is no doubt that the British position in North America was at times most distasteful to Americans, for not only did the presence of the British prevent American expansion northward but the presence of British institutions blocked the establishment of the republican form of government in Canada. In fact, this blocking of the northward expansion of both territory and republicanism was, at times, a source of considerable irritation in the United States.

On the other hand, the continuing presence of Britain in North America was highly important for the growth and development of the United States. It contributed to a strengthening of the bonds of union and to the consolidation of the gains made by the westward movement of the American people. Canada stood as a bulwark of the Union in still another sense. As long as it remained British it could not be used as a pawn in the slavery issue. Had it joined the United States it would have thrown out of balance, even more than was already the case, the relations between the free and the slave states. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 might well have been followed some years later by the Canada Compromise.

This is largely speculation. What we do know is that the presence of Britain in North America was immediately responsible for magnifying, as between Canada and the United States, disputes which might never have assumed more than transitory and local significance had Canada been an independent nation. This is particularly true of the period from 1830 to 1842 when, because of Canada's dependence upon Great Britain, controversies between Canada and the United States involved Great Britain and the United States in relations which became tortuous and, in some cases, exceedingly bitter. Thus British-American relations loomed large in the eyes of Americans

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The Crisis of 1830-1842 in Canadian-American Relations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Introduction ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Contents xv
  • Maps xvi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter I - The Setting: Countries and Peoples 1
  • Chapter II - Before the Rebellions 7
  • Chapter III - The Border in Ferment 27
  • Chapter IV - Curbing the Patriots 44
  • Chapter V - Rise of the Secret Societies 70
  • Chapter VI - Crosscurrents of Opinion 82
  • Chapter VII - Military and Naval Problems: Policy and Practice 102
  • Chapter VIII - The Hunters Try Again 113
  • Chapter IX - The Mcleod Case 130
  • Chapter X - National Defense 146
  • Chapter XI - The Webster Ashburton Treaty 158
  • Conclusion 183
  • Bibliography 185
  • Index 193
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