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Why is Canada not part of the United States?

August 15, 2019


I’ve talked before about why New Zealand
didn’t become a part of Australia despite the two nations sharing a history, and I think
few nations could claim to be as close as our two ANZAC cousins. But there are two other
Nations that come to mind, who were once part of the British Empire, who share a border,
and also didn’t integrate on their independence. These are of cause the United States of America
and Canada. So to answer why Canada is not part of the United States, I’ve invited
Tristan, a Canadian, a historian, and a YouTuber from the channel Step Back History to tell
us the story… Hey folks, Why Canada isn’t part of America is actually
an interesting tale that was on the fence until as recently as the late 19th century. However, the story must begin somewhere, and
first we must set the stage. In the 1750s, only 20-some years before the American revolution,
what would become canada was split between the British Hudson’s Bay company, Newfoundland,
Labrador, Nova Scotia, and the Majority being part of New France. What did America look like? Well as we know,
they were the 13 colonies, spanning from Maine down to the east coast to the border with
New Spain in Florida. Most of the population was between Massachusetts and Virginia. There
was actually quite a bit of uncolonized lands separating these colonists from the English
speakers hiding up in what would become Canada, meaning there was less of a shared identity
between them. In 1760, after the famous Seven Years War,
or to the American’s the French Indian War, much of that French territory that would become
Canada was handed over to the British. Some of the French colonial elite left, but most
were actually content to work under British rule as long as they could speak French, and
stay Catholic. Though if you are Quebecois, you actually would see this as the beginning
of Anglo rule over the French Canadians. It’s still quite an issue here. The British made an agreement with the French
Canadians in 1774 called the Quebec act. This allowed: civil code and common law to exist
side by side; it entrenched the semi-feudal French seigneurial system; and it legalized
the Catholic tithe to Catholics in Quebec. Importantly for this story, however, is that
a lot of land previously allocated to Native Americans, was then shifted to Quebec in an
effort to streamline moving furs out of the St. Lawrence river. The American colonists,
who long desired to expand themselves into this territory, got pretty mad about it. If
you know a bit of the story of the American Revolution, the Quebec act is one of the quote
“Insufferable Acts” that in part triggered the American Revolution. What this means though, is that Quebec, the
largest colony in modern Canada at the time, was Catholic, and largely did not speak English.
After the Seven Years War, many Americans even considered them rivals, or enemies, and
not part of this growing American identity. That being said during the American War of
Independence, and before he defected to the British, Benedict Arnold did try to take Quebec.
The American’s took Montreal, and tried to siege Quebec City. Then spring came and
they gave up on the endeavour. The Americans allied with France during the war, but neither
ally wanted to see the other take Quebec, so the issue was largely dropped. The war effort to put down the revolution,
actually brought a lot of money into Canada, and the tariff protections the New Englanders
gave up to fight the war, were quite good for the Canadian economy as well. Business,
especially the fur business, was booming with the 13 colonies in rebellion. They saw that
their economic future relied on protection, and integration into the British mercantile
empire, and so felt no desire to leave it. Lastly I must mention that Canada then saw
an influx of refugees after the American Revolution. These refugees were mostly the loyalists who
did not want to stay in the United States. You can imagine they brought a lot of British
patriotism with them. Canada then soon grew into its own colony,
with its own identity. They banned slavery pretty early on, and had a lot of friction
with the US over their position as the end of the underground railroad. They quickly
established distinct, and different identities. Many Canadians today speculate that in many
ways our culture’s defined by how not-America we can be. One quick footnote. The US did try to conquer
Canada once. Amongst a series of other issues, the British Empire found itself rather distracted
by the war with Napoleon and the US smelled opportunity. They used a rhetoric of manifest
destiny, claiming that Canada was theirs by right. It didn’t help that the British were
flat out capturing American soldiers into the royal navy and secretly giving weapons to
Native American groups resisting US expansion. In 1812, the US invaded Canada, and after
a number of attempts was pushed back by Canadian militias, and blockaded by British fleets.
It resulted in a Canadian deployment pushing all the way down to Washington DC. The peace
treaty ended the idea of Canada being Americans in waiting basically for the last 200 plus
years. The being said, I do not think that two countries
are as close as Canada and the United States. We maintain the world’s largest undefended
border, are each other’s largest trading partners, and have a pretty long history of
peace and prosperity between us. Also we gave the US most of its best musicians and comedians.
You’re welcome. Thanks Tristan, Step Back History is one of
my favourite new channel, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, you’ll find a link in
all the usual places. It seems that from the moment that Colobus
landed in the Caribbean in 1492 theories popped up claiming that he was the last of the show
– not the first. It seems that many a historian, folkloreist, and arachnologist have theorised,
and in at least one case confirmed these claims.

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