A Colonial Nation, Its Neighbor, and Its Empire

Robert Bothwell

in Your Country, My Country

Published in print December 2015 | ISBN: 9780195448801
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190279660 | DOI:
A Colonial Nation, Its Neighbor, and Its Empire

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Political History


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In the 1850s and after, the United States was absorbed first by the question of slavery and then by the Civil War. During the Civil War, Canadians divided on the issue, most favoring the Union cause. The Confederates wanted to drag Great Britain into the war, which would have been disastrous for Canada, but peace was preserved. Relations remained peaceful after the war. Americans who thought about Canada believed that actual conquest was not necessary. The Canadians were compatible with the United States and would eventually join the Union. It was a view that Canadians could live with, while consolidating their own federal and transcontinental country. The British withdrew from the direct defense of Canada, arguing correctly that it was no longer necessary, while Canadians nevertheless clung to their British-Canadian identity—an identity that was closely linked to the American economy through American investment in Canada and Canadian emigration to the United States.

Keywords: Civil War; anti-slavery; anti-Americanism; Canadian confederation; American annexationism; American expansionism; economic depression; Canadian emigration

Chapter.  7449 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Political History

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