1837 to 1848 – The Rebellions and The Responsible Government
THE PATRIOTS’ FIGHT FOR MORE DEMOCRACY
Since 1791, the people of Canada have been able to elect members to the Legislative Assembly. However, this assembly had no real power and its decisions could be easily overturned by British government appointees. The majority of the people of Lower Canada voted for the Patriot Party, led by Louis-Joseph Papineau. In 1834, the Patriot Party petitioned the British government to give elected members of the Canadian Parliament real powers. After repeated refusals from the British government, the Patriot Party took up arms in 1837 and 1838 and entered into an open rebellion against the government to obtain more rights for the inhabitants of Lower Canada. The Patriotes were defeated by the British army.
THE RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT
After the rebellions, Lord Durham was appointed Governor of Canada and decided that more power should be given to the members of Parliament in order to avoid further confrontations. In 1840, Upper and Lower Canada were amalgamated. In 1848, responsible government was granted to Canada, meaning that the representatives elected by Canadians finally had the power to make all of the decisions related to the new colony.
A FIRST STEP TOWARDS DEMOCRACY
Even though it was defeated, the Patriot Party asserted the rights of Canadians and forced the authorities to implement responsible government. From that point on, elected officials were chosen by the people and could make important decisions to improve the lives of all Canadians.
Alexandre Lanoix. RECITUS. Translated by LEARN.
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