Rebellions of 1837


Rebellions of 1837

The Rebellions of 1837 were a pair of Canadian armed uprisings that occurred in 1837 and 1838 in response to frustrations in political reform and ethnic conflict. A key shared goal was the allowance of responsible government.

Rebellions

The rebellions occurred in two Canadian colonies. The Lower Canada Rebellion was a larger and more sustained conflict by French Canadian and English Canadian rebels against the British colonial government. The Upper Canada Rebellion was an abortive uprising in Upper Canada against Upper Canada oligarchy, the Family Compact, followed by a series of raids, skirmishes, and other small actions over the next year, many of them launched from the United States.The rebellion in Lower Canada began first, in November 1837, and was led by Robert Nelson and Louis-Joseph Papineau.

The Lower-Canada rebellion probably inspired the much shorter rebellion in Upper Canada led by William Lyon Mackenzie in December, but there were other grievances in Upper Canada, particularly the gifts of land and official status to the Church of England to the exclusion of Roman Catholics, Methodists, and other religions, and tensions caused by mass immigration from the United States, particularly in the western areas.

While the initial rebellion in Upper Canada ended quickly with the Battle of Montgomery's Tavern, many of the rebels (including Mackenzie) fled to the United States, using it as a base for launching further raids into Canada in cooperation with American Hunter Lodges. The raids did not end until the rebels and Hunters were defeated at the decisive Battle of the Windmill, nearly a year after the first defeat near Montgomery's Tavern.

Aftermath

After the rebellions died down, more moderate reformers like the political partners Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine gained credibility as an alternative voice to the radicals. They proved to be influential when the British government sent Lord Durham, a prominent British reformer, to investigate the cause of the troubles. Among the recommendations in his report was the establishment of responsible government for the colonies, one of the rebels' original demands. Durham also recommended the merging of Upper and Lower Canada into a single political unit, which became the nucleus for modern-day Canada, and, more controversially, the government-sponsored assimilation of French Canadians to the English language and culture.

References in popular culture

*"Quebec" an American film made on location in Quebec displays a fictionalised account of the Patrioties rebellion.
*The 1999 movie 15 février 1839 by the Québec film maker Pierre Falardeau depicts the last days of the patriotes who were hanged on February 15, 1839.
*Canada Bay, New South Wales is named in honour of transported Canadian prisoners from the rebellion.

The Mac-Paps in the Spanish Civil War

In 1937, exactly one century after the Rebellion, William Mackenzie and Louis-Joseph Papineau were to give their name to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion or the Mac-Paps, a battalion of officially unrecognised Canadian volunteers who fought on the Republican side in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

ee also

*Battle of the Windmill
*History of Canada
*Kahnawake Iroquois and the Rebellions of 1837-38
*Patriot War

External links

* [http://www.militaryheritage.com/charts/Regt1837.htm Chart of British Regiments serving in the Canadian Rebellions of 1837-1838]
* [http://207.61.100.164/resultsreb.html Chronology and quotes]
* [http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/scripts/explore.php?Lang=1&tableid=11&tablename=theme&elementid=2__true The 1837-1838 Rebellion in Lower Canada] , Images from the McCord Museum's collections, accessdate 2006-12-10


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