The year was 1865, the American Civil War had ended, and four British Provinces in British North America decided to unite under what is called Canadian Confederation. And a large group of Irish Americans were wondering what their next step would be, and John O’Mahoney found himself at a crossroads. The Fenian Brotherhood hit its stride during the Civil War and now had money and manpower to spare. Plus all their members who served in both armies during the war had either kept or purchased their own equipment, the Fenians had an army that could easily stand up to the American Army of the day.Read More →

The history of Ireland is a long, complicated, and bloody one. And it is worthy of a project of its own, and I’m sure if I lived in Ireland, I would probably be already have completed such a project. But this is a Canadian History project, yet during the mid 19th Century in a strange twist the history of Irish independence intersected with that of pre-confederation Canada. Ireland had, since the Norman invasion of 1169 been a nation under occupation. And while the ancient history of Ireland stretches out before that date, it seems like the right point to start. Further degradation of the IrishRead More →

If you ever get the chance to visit Quebec City, take the opportunity. Not only is it one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, but it also intersects with many of the significant events that would go one to shape Canada throughout history. From the establishment of the first French settlement in what would become Canada, to the fall of French Rule on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The Quebec Conference of 1866 to the other Quebec Conferences at the climax of the Second World War that planned out the invasion of fortress Europe. While often overlooked or merged with the Charlottetown Conference,Read More →

Of the four fathers of confederation, I’ve explored in these blog posts the one with the strangest story, and the youngest in both age and political experience is Thomas D’Arcy McGee. Born the 13th of April 1825 in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland. Raised by Irish Roman Catholic Patriots, much of his early education came from his mother, who as a Dublin Bookseller filled McGee with the stories of the Irish heroes of old. His knowledge continued in the illegal Hedge Schools where he learned of the past and ongoing struggles for Irish independence from British Occupation. His experience continued when his family moved to WexfordRead More →

When it comes to the names of the Fathers of Confederation, those men who attended the conferences at Charlottetown and Quebec, most Canadians can only list a handful, or just one. That name is Sir John A. MacDonald. And while MacDonald certainly made a name for himself in his roll in what could almost be seen as bullying the other Provinces into Confederation, we often will overshadow the man who could almost be considered the architect of Confederation, George Brown. The eldest son of six, born to Peter and Marianne Brown on the 29th of November 1819 in Clackmannan, Scotland. George grew up among theRead More →

When it comes to political change in Canadian history, there has always been two behind any major change. Robert Baldwin and Louis La Fontaine for example, and while George Brown would play a major role it would be George-√Čtienne Cartier who would provide political support to John A MacDonald but ensure that French-Canadien culture would not be lost. Born the 6th of September 1814 in Sainte-Antonie-sur-Richelieu in Lower Canada. Baptised with the name George in honour of King George III. But George’s family already had a long history in the new world, even claiming relation to Jacques Cartier (although there is no evidence to supportRead More →

It should come as no surprise that at the mention of Sir John A MacDonald, you get a lot of negative feedback. He managed to in his time attract a lot of controversies. Like his law career, he drew as much positive attention as he does negative today. Born the 11th of January 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of a somewhat successful business owner by age five he and his family had immigrated to Canada settling in Kingston, Upper Canada. While his father continued to see moderate success in running various mills and businesses, most of the family income would go towards John’s education.Read More →

One of the greatest misconceptions about confederation is that Canada sprung forth fully formed from the passage of the British North America Act in 1867, in reality, the modern Canada we know today was a long way off in 1867. It wasn’t until 1999 that the last territory, Nunavut would be carved out of the Northwest Territory. In 1864 a majority of the British holdings in North America remained in the hands of the Hudson Bay Company as Rupert’s Land, the colonies were each a separate entity, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Red River, Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Most hadRead More →

Many have heard the analogy of an elephant and a beaver to describe the relationship between Canada and the United States. Even though we are two separate countries and cultures, whatever happens in the United States is like when the elephant rolls over, it does and will affect Canada. The American Civil War is the perfect example of what happens when the elephant rolls over. While the conflict was primarily an American war, it had ripple effects across the globe. The war is not the primary focus of this project, however, as I mentioned in the previous post, is one of the external reasons toRead More →

There is a great deal of wisdom in the preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America; I am talking about the line of text that reads, in order to form a more perfect union. The 1850s had been rough on the state of the Canadian government, and as the decade turned, it looked like it was not going to be getting any better. The scandals that rocked the governments of Sir Francis Hincks and Sir Allan Napier MacNab had damaged the reputation of the Liberal-Conservatives and even trickled down into the Reform movement as well. But things looked a little better whenRead More →