On Mon, 23 Apr 2018 06:15:07 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by jerry kraus
The situation of Canada as a British Dominion is very, very different from that of Australia, Solomon. Always has been. Australia was formed as a federal union, to some extent on the pattern of the U.S., more or less simply to keep the Australian people happy. Canada was formed as a centrally controlled dominion of provinces and territories, more or less to discourage immediate encroachment by an aggressive and militaristic U.S., following the U.S. Civil War. I suspect that the Australians were much more the prime movers of Federation, than Canadians were of Confederation. Basically, I suspect, in the case of Canada, the British were trying to find some way of finessing the problem of their extremely weak position vis-à-vis the U.S. in North America. So, they saw Dominion Status for the Canadian Colonies as a means of at least forestalling and discouraging American takeover, to some extent. At least if they were extremely accommodating to the U.S., whenever
possible. As I've pointed out, by the end of the U.S. Civil War, the U.S. Navy would likely have made it very difficult for the British to send in sufficient troops to adequately defend Canada, so, effectively, Canada was theirs for the taking. Nevertheless, Britain was still strong enough to make things difficult, and, if they were cooperative enough, why should the U.S. bother taking over Canada? Essentially, that remains the situation to the present day.
Basically, the British realized following the Mexican-American War, in 1848, that the U.S. could write its own ticket in North America, so, they became very accommodating indeed starting in the 1850's. To see the British attitude prior to this, read Charles Dickens' "Martin Chuzzlewit" (1842) -- still, arguably, the best and most vicious satire of the U.S. ever written.
I agree with MOST of what you say other than the fact that Canadian
confederation was largely driven by Macdonald and Cartier of Upper and
Lower Canada with the full blessing of London.
Had the US made a serious effort to acquire Canada in the 1850s it no
doubt could have happened BUT given the balance between slave and free
states that was DEFINITELY not going to happen as that would suddenly
create 3-5 new free states which would have been anathema to the
future Confederate states.
By 1862 it was clear to Macdonald and Cartier that the North was
likely going to win eventually and that Canadian colonial union
blessed by London was the only way for the British North American
colonies (which included British Columbia) to remain free. And in that
context 'free' meant non-American.
And given US history particularly the acquisition of Texas American
acquisition of Canada would have been a certainly if Washington
thought it could be accomplished without war with Britain.
Specifically with respect to British Columbia I feel Matthew Begbie
was a critical figure since had he not existed or failed British
Columbia would have been wide open for a Texas style filibuster which
probably also puts the Yukon in US hands. (particularly if gold is
found within 10 years of the end of the Civil war)
So to summarize your analysis is basically right though it was
Canadian driven but emphatically blessed in London.