This course looks at the development of Canada from a remote and struggling colony of Britain to its beginnings as an independent nation. The first half will examine the transition from an outpost of France, taken over by Britain in 1763, up to the War of 1812. At that time, the country consisted of several separate colonies. Although the course will consider political and economic issues, its main focus is on social history, namely the people and their lived experience.
The Indigenous population were an integral part of the new country; therefore, their concerns and influence will receive attention, mainly their relationship with the colonial government and the newly-arrived settlers. This changed drastically after the War of 1812; the nature of the change and the roots of the reserve system and contemporary problems will be considered, particularly in the second term. The winter term will look at the beginnings of the Canadian nation-state and the institutions created to deal with ‘problematic’ elements in that state, while endeavoring to create a more stable and orderly country.