Cultural patterns in the union of the Canadas: The first decade.

Title: Cultural patterns in the union of the Canadas: The first decade.
Authors: Kenny, Stephen.
Date: 1979
Abstract: This thesis is a history of cultural patterns which existed in Canada during the 1840s. In examining the numerous attitudes, values and sentiments shared by Canadians, I have attempted to provide firstly, an overall description of the cultural condition of the colony and, secondly, a clearer understanding of the nature of the relationship of French and English speaking Canadians. They were very different from each other, divided by characteristics as fundamental as religion, language, and place of origin, and separated by other important impediments like climate and geography. While not denying their distinctions, this dissertation stresses their similarities. It illustrates the cultural community of Canadians by studying their attitudes towards the age in which they lived. For example, they were committed to progress and improvement. Moreover, they were enchanted with technological advances like the railroad and telegraph and they were convinced that a modern and practical education was a good way to change society for the better. Common values of Canadians are demonstrated by observing how they reacted to the difficulties and trials of everyday life, such as fire, sickness and violence. While they endured and responded to these phenomena in a similar fashion, they also fell upon the same solutions to their problems, one of the most interesting being temperance. Further shared cultural patterns are found in their opinions on crime and mental illness. Finally, common sentiments are demonstrated by their ideas regarding religion, the artistic and literary condition of the colony, and the place of women, children and native people in the community. To investigate the cultural patterns of Canadians and to study their shared attitudes, I have used the most obvious printed sources in both French and English, such as newspapers, government documents, official correspondence, sessional papers, committee reports, parliamentary debates, public inquiries, contemporary books, travel guides, pamphlets, magazines, reviews and some selected manuscript sources. Extensive examination of this material leads me to the conclusion that while culturally Canadians were far from sophisticated or advanced in these years, they shared a great deal. While it cannot be claimed that they were the same, their resemblance to each other was often uncanny. The agreement of Canadians on so many matters and the similarity of their cultural attitudes, values and sentiments balances more traditional perceptions of them as being basically antagonistic towards each other. Perhaps the shared cultural patterns illustrated here partly explain why and how Canadians managed to live together fairly reasonably and peacefully during the first decade of the Union. Their positive experiences together is one of the least studied elements of their relationship in this period. Hopefully, this thesis will be regarded as an initial effort in correcting that situation.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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