Lower Canada Chapter 2.6

Situation in Lower
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
• 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
• 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.

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