The over 500 acres of Lower Canada’s
The Causes and Reasons for the Rebellion of 1837-38
The rebellions of Upper and Lower Canada were in the interests of self-government but were doomed to failure from their beginning. Each of these two colonies encountered a great deal of problems right from the institution of the Constitution Act of 1791 and the problems continually got worse until the only choice to some seem to be rebellion. There were several problems that lead to the rebellions of 1837-38. In Lower Canada there was the agricultural crisis that caused a large number of starvations, to the French and English political and social problems within the colony. There were several different reasons that caused the rebellion in Upper Canada but these caused were mainly rooted in the idea of Anti- Americanism that was held within the Family Compact.Both rebellions had valid causes and noble intentions but they lacked the most necessary part for a rebellion to succeed in its intentions, the support of the people. Without support these two rebellions could never succeed.
There were several reasons for the rebellion in Lower Canada that included the agricultural crisis, immigration and the British America Land Company. The first cause of importance was the agricultural crisis that was “caused by the very low production of wheat due to the cold weather, the wheat fly epidemic and the fact that the land had been harvested from the beginning of the century”. “ The low amount of wheat caused the cost of living to soar and left many people staving and without their homes because they were unable to pay their creditors or their rent.” This infuriated the French assembly because the funds that could be used to improve the conditions of the French people were being divided among the Chateau Clique. They were living the high life and enjoying all the comforts while the rest of the population suffered. The next major issue was that of immigration which brought tens of millions of people from Europe. These people would be heading to the United States, Upper Canada or Lower Canada. When these immigrants came they would land in Quebec and with them they would bring disease that killed a large amount of French Canadians. This aggravated the French people because “they saw this as a plot of the English to get rid of the French Canadians”. Adding to these problems was the establishment of the British America Land Company. This new land company was given over 500 acres of Lower Canada’s prime land. The company would not allow French people to buy this land; only the English and Americans could purchase the land. The French people found it increasingly difficult to get land and the government wasn’t doing anything about this. All of these problems lead to the assembly issuing the ninety-two resolutions that had two main points that were responsible government and control of money. The ruling English class didn’t want the French people to gain this power because they wanted to French to remain oppressed and out of the upper class “The Chateau Clique in Lower Canada wanted to prevent the French from winning complete control over the government and English speaking people would be under the control of the French.” The response to the ninety-two resolutions was the issuing of the ten resolutions from Britain that stated that there would be no responsible government and the assembly would not have control of money. All of these incidents increased the tension within the colony until there was no turning back and the government pushed the lower assembly too far and the rebellion started in Lower Canada.
The rebellion in Upper Canada has different reason than that of Lower Canada. This rebellion was not as large as the rebellion in Lower Canada but was destined to happen due to all the problems in the colony. The problems that caused the “rebellion to happen in Upper Canada were deeply rooted in the Anti-American attitude that was held by the Family Compact.” The reasons were the issue of land, education and the bank of Upper Canada. The first issue of importance was the land issue and land reform. All the immigrants that were