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Canada at the Turn of the Century. Puritan Ethic. “ Canadians were a community of believers. They believed in the sanctity of the British Empire as they believed in the sanctity of the Lord’s Day” – Pierre Berton. Yonge and King 1900 and now.

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puritan ethic
Puritan Ethic
  • “Canadians were a community of believers. They believed in the sanctity of the British Empire as they believed in the sanctity of the Lord’s Day” – Pierre Berton

Yonge and King 1900 and now


People believed in war – a necessary tool in the advancement of civilization, a contest in which a few bones were forfeited in the interests of a higher cause. Every war in which the ‘Greatest Empire in the World’ had ever been involved was considered to be a ‘just’ war.” – Pierre Berton

NW corner of Adelaide and Victoria

  • Hotel bar
temperance and the wctu
Temperance and the WCTU
  • Other causes of the WCTU: protection of the feeble minded, parks and playground associations, child welfare, health reform, direct democracy, educational and municipal reform.
  • Nellie McClung’s idea: replace drinking with better things: parks, playgrounds, handicrafts, orchestras, folk dances and decent housing. The solution was to find a civilized substitute.
immigration boom
Immigration Boom
  • Clifford Sifton under Laurier
  • Galecians
new woman
New Woman
  • “The New Woman rode into the twentieth century on a bicycle”
  • 95% lived in a single-family dwelling
  • Obligatory chaperone
  • School readers full of stirring accounts about British derring-do among heathens. “Empire building was equated with British manliness” – Pierre Berton
  • As social historian Arthur Lower remarked, “at the turn of the century, the Canadian public school was not making young Canadians, but young Englishmen.”
    • Charles G.D. Roberts, poet and historian wrote in 1895, “The good Canadian nationalist first must be a good Imperialist”.
  • The Red Ensign, a red flag with the Union Jack in the upper corner, was created in 1707 as the flag of the British Merchant Marine. From approximately 1870 to 1904, it was used on land and sea as Canada's flag, with the addition of a shield in the fly bearing the quartered arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
  • “The British Empire was an institution second only to Christianity. The two, in fact, were interwoven. To evangelize the world in a single generation was the sacred aim of imperialists and churchmen alike”. –Pierre Berton

Canterbury Cathedral, London

Church of England

  • “This was the age of the missionary hero who set out to conquer the world for Christ. ‘Conquer’ was the operative word…” – Pierre Berton
  • The Methodist church called for the conqest of “more territory for Christ’s empire; more soldiers in His army; more ships in His white-winged navy of beneficence, more towers and fortresses thundering against sin; better enginery and better disciplined battalions”
  • Attempt to conceal British economic expansion under a cloak of missionary zeal.
  • Lord Wolseley, who commanded the Red River expedition during the Riel uprising of 1870 and was commander-in-chief during the South African Ward, declared that he had “but one great object in this world- that is to maintain the greatness of the British Empire” and not for reasons of selfish conquest! The issue was a moral one, or at least that was the imperialistic excuse. “I firmly believe,” Wolseley stated, “that in doing so I work in the cause of Christianity , of peace, of civilization, and the happiness of the human race generally”.
  • Canadian magazine’s snobbish Christmas message of 1899 was that “the Anglo-Saxon race never errs, that it makes war only for the benefit of humanity”.
  • Rudyard Kipling wrote, “Go, bind your sons to exile to serve your captive’s needs”
  • Nellie McClung wrote about the “white man’s burden”: “It gave the whole business of war the high purpose of a Crusade and threw a glamour around the fighting man. We were not fighting for anything as cheap and corruptible as gold. We were paying our debt to the under-privileged, though perhaps the ungrateful people of the world”.
onward christian soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers
  • Do not be discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15
rudyard kipling the white man s burden 1899
Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” 1899

Take up the White Man's burden--The savage wars of peace--Fill full the mouth of FamineAnd bid the sickness cease;And when your goal is nearestThe end for others sought,Watch sloth and heathen FollyBring all your hopes to nought.Take up the White Man's burden--No tawdry rule of kings,But toil of serf and sweeper--The tale of common things.The ports ye shall not enter,The roads ye shall not tread,Go mark them with your living,And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--And reap his old reward:The blame of those ye better,The hate of those ye guard--The cry of hosts ye humour(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--"Why brought he us from bondage,Our loved Egyptian night?"Take up the White Man's burden--Ye dare not stoop to less--Nor call too loud on FreedomTo cloke your weariness;By all ye cry or whisper,By all ye leave or do,The silent, sullen peoplesShall weigh your gods and you.

  • Take up the White Man's burden--Send forth the best ye breed--Go bind your sons to exileTo serve your captives' need;To wait in heavy harness,On fluttered folk and wild--Your new-caught, sullen peoples,Half-devil and half-child.Take up the White Man's burden--In patience to abide,To veil the threat of terrorAnd check the show of pride;By open speech and simple,An hundred times made plainTo seek another's profit,And work another's gain.Take up the White Man's burden--Have done with childish days--The lightly proferred laurel,The easy, ungrudged praise.Comes now, to search your manhoodThrough all the thankless yearsCold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,The judgment of your peers!