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Confederation. Internal & External Factors. 1850’s scattered colonies of British North America. The Situation. not this situation. Vancouver Island and British Columbia The North-Western Territory Rupert’s Land (Hudson’s Bay Trading Co.) The Red River Settlement

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Internal & External Factors

1850 s scattered colonies of british north america
1850’s scattered colonies of British North America

The Situation

not this situation

Vancouver Island and British Columbia

The North-Western Territory

Rupert’s Land (Hudson’s Bay Trading Co.)

The Red River Settlement

Canada (Canada East & Canada West)

The Maritimes


confederation 1867

What areas become united?

British North American colonies join together in a federal union.

Four Provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

reasons for confederation

Political Deadlock

Need for the Railroad

Desire for Western Expansion


Threat of American Expansion

The Fenians


Changing British Attitude

Reasons For Confederation
internal factor 1 political deadlock
Internal Factor #1Political Deadlock
  • 1841-Canada West & Canada East
  • Each region had equal number of seats
  • Disagreements were common
  • English-Speaking majority of Canada West vs. French-speaking minority of Canada East were often on opposing sides over the issues.

Canada West Canada East

Liberal-Conservative Party (Tories) + Le Parti Bleu (Conservatives)

(John A. Macdonald) (George-Etienne Cartier)


Reform Party (Clear Grits) + Le Parti Rouge (Reform Party)

(George Brown) (Antoine-AimeDorion)

  • Government in power had a difficult time getting a strong enough majority to pass legislation.
  • This led to political deadlock and frequent elections and changes of government.
  • To help solve this problem Macdonald, Cartier and Brown formed a coalition government in 1864.

Coalition- A temporary joining together of two or more political parties

political deadlock cont d
Political Deadlock Cont’d
  • Politicians wanted the Great Coalition to form a federal union.
  • This would give C.E. & C.W. its own provincial government.
  • They would share a Central government – the seats would be divided on the basis of Representation by Population.

Canada West -1 393 000 mainly English-speaking Protestant.

Canada East -1 112 000 mainly French-speaking and Roman Catholic.

internal factor 2 need for railway
Internal Factor #2Need for Railway
  • C.W., C.E., NS and NB had their own railway but they were not all connected.
  • The railway was needed to increase trade and move troops more quickly in case of war.
  • The railway would increase communication (quicker movement of mail) and increase business.
  • An INTERCOLONIAL railway would overcome problems: Mountains and freezing of St. Lawrence.
  • Due to financial trouble the building came to a halt and politicians dreamed to connect Canada from sea to sea.
internal factor 3 desire for western expansion
Internal Factor #3Desire for Western Expansion
  • The supply of good, available farmland was starting to dwindle and many people started to look to present day-Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta as possible areas of settlement.
  • When colonies of BNA joined and annexed these areas, they could settle and claim them before the Americans.
  • People wished to expand into Rupert’s Land.
external factor 1 threat of american expansion
External Factor #1 Threat of American Expansion
  • Manifest Destiny- Policy of expansion based on the belief that all of the North American Continent should belong to the USA.
  • The American Civil War occurred in the 1860’s, between the Northern and Southern States. The British were accused of helping the Southerners flee from the Northern troops. This created an uneasy relationship between BNA and the United States, leading to fear that the Americans would try and expand into the BNA colonies.
  • American settlers were moving into the Red River Settlement. This was also a fear because the United States could order the Americans to Annex North America.
pressure points
Pressure Points
  • 1867-Alaska is purchased by Americans from Russia. Would they expand South into B.C.?
  • Discovery of gold in B.C. attracted thousands of Americans. Would they overpopulate the colony and join the United States?
  • Red River Settlement was close to the border and it was separated from Eastern Canada. Would the Americans annex?
  • Americans were angry at the British for supporting the South during the Civil War. Would they attack to get back at Britain?
  • Fenian soldiers were attacking the border from U.S. Were they attacking with the support of the US?
external factor 2 the fenians
External Factor #2 The Fenians
  • Fears become reality in 1866.
  • The Fenians (A group of American Irish Catholics) made several raids across the borders of BNA colonies. Fenians felt strongly about ending British rule over Ireland. Since they could not attack Britain directly, they attacked her North American colonies.
  • John A. Macdonald turned the raids into an argument supporting the union of the colonies.
external factor 3 trade
External Factor # 3Trade
  • As members of the British Empire, the BNA colonies enjoyed special trading privileges.
  • British Corn Laws had allowed wheat and flour from the BNA colonies to enter Britain with a very low tax (this was called preference because foreign merchants had to pay a much higher tax)
  • Britain cancelled (Repealed) the Corn Laws in 1846
  • To increase revenue ($$$), BNA colonies formed a Reciprocity Agreement with the United States.
trade cont d
Reciprocity Treaty- In 1854, BNA colonies signed a RECIPROCITY agreement with the US.Trade (cont’d)

This treaty was due to expire after ten years.

Britain’s support of the South during the Civil War upset the Americans. Canadians feared US would not renew the reciprocity agreement.

Solution: Free trade among the colonies.

This in turn, pushed the colonies closer together. Increasing need for Confederation.

external factor 4 changing british attitude
External Factor #4Changing British Attitude
  • Great Britain’s attitude about her British North American colonies was changing. Britain wanted the colonies to be more self-sufficient.
  • Little Englanders (Small, vocal British group) saw the colonies as great expense and a burden to Britain. People were tired that their taxes and money were all going to support the colonies.
  • One British Politician, John Bright, summed up the feelings of the Little Englanders in a speech he gave to the British parliament:

“. . . If they are to be constantly applying to us for guarantees for railways, and for grants for fortresses, and for works of defence, then I think it would be far better for them and us – cheaper for us – that they should become independent.”

charlottetown conference 1864
Charlottetown Conference- 1864
  • Some maritime leaders more interested in Maritime union than BNA union.
  • Maritime union was also seen as a step to BNA union.
  • Maritime leaders impressed by plans and agreed to met at Quebec
quebec conference 1864
Seventy-Two Resolutions

Central, strong federal government

Provinces would have limited power

The assembly will be called the House of Commons (elected) – “rep by pop”

The upper house will be called the Senate (appointed) – 24 seats per region – Quebec, Canada West and Canada West

Quebec Conference 1864
london conference
London Conference
  • 72 resolutions was introduced to the House of Lords Feb. 12, 1867 – called the British North America Act
  • Passed on May 22, 1867
  • Queen Victoria proclaimed that the Dominion of Canada would become a nation on July 1, 1867. John A. MacDonald would be the 1st Prime Minister
the british north america act 1867
The British North America Act, 1867
  • Federal Government – more power
  • Provincial Government – less power
    • Ontario
    • Quebec
    • Nova Scotia
    • New Brunswick
  • What were the advantages for the colonies of British North America of an intercolonial railway? What were the disadvantages?
  • What are the advantages of free trade?
  • Why were Americans interested in expansion Northward?