Situation in Lower Canada Chapter 2.6 Socials 10 Situation in Lower Canada • Lower Canada (now Quebec) had serious political problems which were made worse by the fact that ruling class (people in charge) were English and the majority of Lower Canadians were French. • The American Revolution in the US, the French Revolution in Europe, and democracy in the US made British rule without democracy seem even more unacceptable. Situation in Lower Canada • The Chateau Clique (the same group as Family Compact in Upper Canada) controlled government and business. • They were supported by the church and wealthy French landowners who wanted to keep privileges • The English- speaking minority in Lower Canada had most of the wealth and power, even though they were less one quarter of the population. Economic Woes • The conflict over land was not as serious as it was in Upper Canada, although, because of population increase, access to land was also limited. • As land become limited, crops began to fail because the soil was increasingly less fertile. • Lower Canada was forces to import wheat from Upper Canada – this put them into debt!! • Many Lower Canadians started work in forestry although the wealthy members of the population still had control over that too. Nationalism • French Canadians mistrusted the English. They felt strongly that they were not British and they wanted to be their own group- not tied to Britain. • They felt a need to protect their language, religion and culture. • Feared English immigration would make them a minority • 1832 English ships brought Cholera – some thought this was an attempt to kill the French population • The lack of democracy made living in Lower Canada very difficult. Most citizens were struggling to pay taxes and provide for their families meanwhile they had no say in the government that they paid for. • French Canadians were also frustrated that the government was so unfair (undemocratic). Three Issues of Reform 1. Discrimination against the French 2. Lack of representation in government 3. Unfair taxes • Louis- Joseph Papineau was the leader of the radical reformers in Lower Canada. Since he was a seigneur and a lawyer he originally supported British rule because he thought is would bring change for the better. • In 1815, he became Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for Lower Canada and leader of the Parti Canadien (which pushed for reform). A Need for Reform… • Not all reform leaders were French. English speaking supporters wanted a democratic system in which the Legislative Assembly (good guys) controlled government spending. • Wolfred Nelson and the Patriots • Edmund O’Callaghan and The Vindicator (newspaper) • French protest stopped Lower Canada from uniting with Upper Canada in 1822. • Union was avoided, but it made feelings towards the government even more hostile Leading to Rebellion… • After British soldiers shot protestors in Montreal, Papineau and other reformers submitted the “92 Resolutions” to the governor. These resolutions were demands for major changes in the colonial government. • Three years later, Lord John Russell, in charge of the Colonial Office in Britain, replied with “Ten Resolutions” that stopped ALL power of the Legislative Assembly (good guys). • After 30 years of attempting to reform the government peacefully, Papineau and his Patriots openly rebelled against the government.