In 1837, were the Canadian rebels justified in taking up arms against the official government?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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From looking at it from the rebels point of view, they felt justified in taking up arms against the official government.  In both the Upper and Lower Rebellions of 1837, rebel forces felt that the official governments were not being responsive to their needs.  Economic challenges were plaguing both regions and the pleas for responsible government were not being heard.  Farmers in Lower Canada were experiencing challenging times that were not being acknowledged by those in the position of power, while rebels in Upper Canada felt that the political system of patronage was denying opportunities for many.

The rebels were able to trigger the perception of  "undemocratic, unworkable colonial systems" of government began to fester throughout Canada.  While the rebels might not have fully succeeded in their goals, they did raise the issues that ended up leading the way for Canadian statehood and independence.  Those in the position of power would not have felt that the rebels were justified in taking up arms against the official government. However, most forces of political change begin with this dynamic.  Some group has to demand change.  As a response, they must face inertia to this change. It is in this light where the rebels felt they were justified in their actions against the official government.