A History of Canada: Dominion of the North

By Donald Creighton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
TRANSCONTINENTAL DOMINION

I

THE THIRD QUARTER of the nineteenth century was an age of expanding industrialism and triumphant nationality. The new inventions, the new techniques in steel and steam, the new methods of machine manufacture and railway transport, were visibly revolutionizing the West European-American world; and on both sides of the Atlantic the rise of the new industrialism was accompanied by a period of war and unsettlement out of which there emerged a number of great national states. Perhaps the most obvious and spectacular examples of this political process were the unification of Italy and the creation of the German Empire. But in both divisions of the Englishspeaking world -- the British Empire and the United States -- there were political reorganizations which were just as drastic as anything that took place on the Continent. Under the pressure from 'Little England' the loosely united second British Empire began to break up into a number of quasi- independent national states. Under the coercive power of civil war the old divided federalism of the United States was suddenly forced into a unity.

The coming of the new industrialism and the new nationality was bound to have the most serious consequences for the British North American provinces. They had grown up

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