Life in Lower Canada 1815-1838

Pages 140-143
Group 1: Habitants
 Their way of life had not
changed much for 150 years
More people meant less
available farm land and smaller
lots of land
Not much work for young
After 1810 many were starving
because there was not enough
Too many English-speaking
immigrants were threatening
the habitants’ way of life
Group 2: Merchants
 English-speaking people who were very rich and powerful
 They made money from furs, timber and wheat
 They wanted the government to use taxes to improve Lower
Canada by building bridges, canals, harbours and roads
Group 3: Professional Men
 Educated, French-speaking such as lawyers and
They wanted to be leaders and speak for all of the
people in Lower Canada
They dreamed of a separate French-Canadian nation
They liked the traditional French-Canadian way of life
and saw the British as a cultural threat
They created a political party called “Parti Canadien”
Government in Lower Canada
 The government in Lower Canada was
similar to that created in Upper
Canada under the Constitutional Act
 Some differences were:
 members of both the Legislative
and Executive Councils were
appointed for life
 the governor and the members in
the council were all Englishspeaking which made their
interests very different from the
French-speaking habitants and
professional men
e Council
e Council
Legislative Assembly
Powerful Groups in L. Canada
Chateau Clique
Parti Canadien
A small group of wealthy people
who were either British or
Believed only a few people should
have all the power in government
Wanted the Roman Catholic
Church to remain powerful
because the Church helped them
They favoured the British system of
government and wanted more
British people to move into Lower
Mostly French-Canadians who
wanted the old, traditional
French ways
They saw change as negative and
did not like new ideas
Their leader was Louis-Joseph
They were able to get the
professional men to control the
Legislative Assembly and vote
against improvements
The merchants were angered by
them since they wanted the
Louis-Joseph Papineau
 A wealthy seigneur who was a professional man and
wanted changes to be made in the government
 Became the leader of the “Parti Canadien” which changed
its name to “Parti Patriote” after 1826
Questions – Individual Work
Who were the 3 main groups in L.Canada and what did
they want?
What were the Habitants scared about?
Which political party was Louis Papineau part of?
Why were the views and opinions of the people sitting
on the Executive Council different than those on the
Legislative Assembly and voters?
What’s the difference between the Chateau Clique and
Parti Canadien?
Unrest in Lower Canada
 The French-speaking people and English-speaking
merchants wanted different things in Lower Canada such
 The merchants wanted improvements for transportation but
to pay for those improvements they wanted to use tax money.
They also wanted Upper and Lower Canada to unite to give
the English people a voting majority in the L.A.
 The seigneurs wanted to protect their own way of life which
meant no more immigration.
 French-speaking people also wanted to have more influence
in the Executive and Legislative Councils or at least have
people that represented the views and ideas of the French
speaking population (not the ENGLISH).
The 92 Resolutions
 In 1834 the Legislative Assembly put together a list of
92 grievances (or resolutions) and sent it to the British
 They said the people would not pay any taxes until
their concerns were resolved.
 With no taxes, government workers would not get paid
and any work on transportation improvements would
have to stop
Resolutions Example
 We use resolutions today when we want to improve
something in our lives. The most common time for
people to make a list of resolutions is on New Year’s.
Individually, come up with a New Years resolution to
share with the class!
Britain’s Response
 Britain sent a man named Lord Gosford to investigate
what was happening in Lower Canada in 1835
 He was not liked by either groups because he was seen
as a puppet.
 In 1837 Britain decided write their own 10 resolutions
which included the following:
 Britain refused to give the Legislative Assembly any
more power and if they refused to give tax money to the
Governor he now was given power to just take it
 Britain also continued to encourage immigration
Armed Rebellion: WAR!
 After Britain’s response the Canadiens were ready to fight
 The rebellion started in November of1837 and ended in
December of 1837
 Who do you think was the winner?
The Result
 On December 14th the Canadiens gathered in the
village of St Eustache and were ready to fight
The British attacked the village and completely burned
and robbed it!
In the end 12 rebels were hanged and 58 were sent to
Australia as prisoners
Another 1200 prisoners were set free
Papineau escaped to the USA and was to be executed if
he tried to return to BNA
Something to think about...
 After looking at the events in Lower Canada think
about the following with your partner:
 What do you think will now happen to the relations
between the French-speaking and English-speaking
 Can life continue in Lower Canada with British leaders
and large French-speaking citizens?
 What do you see happening in the
Be ready to present your thoughts!!
Important Vocabulary Words
Moderate – a person who does not hold extreme
Radical – holding extreme opinions; wants
fundamental social, economic, and political
Treason – the crime of betraying one’s country
Puppet – leader who is not independent, who waits
for orders or does what someone else tells him or
her to do.
Political reform – changes to make the government
Government in Upper Canada
Two major political groups in Upper Canada
 The Tories
(lead by the Family Compact)
 The Reformers
(wanted political reform (change))
Family Compact (TORIES)
 Was a small group of powerful
Defended tradition and opposed
Power should be in the hands of
a few
Church should be powerful
Were loyal to Great Britain and
British system.
Held political positions in the
Legislative and Executive
The Reformers
Unlike the family compact “the
Reformers” wanted change in
Upper Canada.
 They opposed the power of the
family compact.
 They were divided among
radical and moderate groups
 They wanted to create change in
government and society of
Upper Canada (similar to that
of the United States)
 The Reformers included people
who would later take part in the
Robert Gourlay
 He was a reformer who
immigrated from Scotland and
wanted to bring poor people
from Britain to Upper Canada
to farm.
 Gourlay spoke with local
farmers about problems and
difficulties. He encouraged
farmers to meet and discuss
their problems.
 The Family compact felt he was
a threat and put Gourlay in jail
(later thrown out of Upper
 He is a moderate
William Lyon Mackenzie
 He was reformer (from Scotland) who
used his newspaper to speak out about
the problems experienced by farmers
and the Family Compact.
 He was elected into the Legislative
Assembly and spoke out against the
Family Compact. Mackenzie was
expelled from Leg. Assembly 6 times,
but voted back every time.
 He participated in the armed rebellion
in attempt to destroy Upper Canada’s
system of government.
 Considered a Radical
Sir Francis Bond Head
 Was appointed lieutenant-governor
of Upper Canada and was welcomed
by the reformers.
 Reformers felt betrayed by Bond.
 The Legislative Assembly refused to
work with Bond which resulted in a
freeze in funds.
 Bond ordered an election and
personally fought for the Tories. They
won and defeated the Reformers.
End of Lesson
 Complete vocabulary
 Study for chapter 6/7
Election Violence
 Election violence was
common during the
1830s. There was no
secret ballot like
today. Instead people
shouted their choice
which usually
resulted in shouts
and insults. Voters
often threw stones
and swung clubs at
one another.
Armed Rebellion (Upper Canada)
 Mackenzie wanted to take
advantage of the political unrest.
He rode to the countryside and
found people to support his cause.
He found 4000 people to sign his
petition, but when it came to fight
he only had 800 men.
 The Reformers wanted to have a
government similar to United
 In the end, the rebellion was a
failure and Mackenzie escaped to
the United States.
Results of the Rebellion
 Upper and Lower Canada ended up worse
(temporarily) after the rebellion.
 Government (Legislative Assembly) was
suspended for 4 years.
 People were afraid to speak out about change
because they might be accused of being a radical.
 The British sent Lord Durham to investigate the
causes of the rebellion and to suggest solutions to
the problems.
Newspaper Assignment
Create your own Newspaper issue which will
report on the 1837 Rebellion. You must
write your paper from the “Family
Compact’s” or “Reformers” perspective.
Must include:
 Name of Newspaper
 Date of issue
 Article describing the event
 A article analyzing the cause and effect
 “Letter to the Editor”
 Advertisement
 Picture of the event

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