Canada’s Constitutional Act (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: One of a series of acts that created a constitution for Canada.
Summary of Event
England’s defeat of France during the Seven Years’ War (known in North America as the French and Indian War) resulted in Great Britain’s acquisition, in 1763, of New France, the former holdings of France on the North American continent. This acquisition posed an immediate problem for Britain: how to govern the newly acquired territory. After a series of failed experiments, the British Parliament adopted the Canada Constitutional Act of 1791.
The principal difficulty in governing the new acquisition of the British Empire was that the two primary groups of inhabitants, the French colonists and the American Indians, had no previous experience with British methods of government of colonial holdings, had cultures that differed profoundly from that of the British, and had been at war intermittently for two centuries with the inhabitants of the British colonies to the south. For France, Canada had been a colony of exploitation; for Great Britain, direct governance of colonies of exploitation had not been practiced—the British favored privatization of colonies of exploitation, as was the case in India.
The task of governing Canada was profoundly influenced by developments in the British colonies to the south. These were colonies of settlement, and under British rule, Canada became converted from a...
(The entire section is 1372 words.)
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