Canada's so-called democracy in the 1800's-- Upper and Lower Canada

Essay by split_secondHigh School, 11th gradeA-, June 2005

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So Called Democracy

In Canada, democracy in our history and democracy now are two different things. In the 1800's, people weren't given nearly as many rights and freedoms, even though it was a democracy. Women did not have any rights and the government looked much different.

In Upper and Lower Canada in the past, the government looked much different. For example, the colonial government could veto any laws they wanted once they were voted in power. The government was neither representative nor responsible meaning that the people didn't elect representatives and the representatives couldn't be voted out. Also, things such as money easily influenced the representatives. In Lower Canada, the Roman Catholic Church had powerful influences in the government. Together with strong English merchants and the governor, they controlled the government. The people of the time did not have much political freedom. In Lower Canada, the laws were written in English.

Therefore, the French struggled to understand. Also, judges who were influenced by the council or governor often determined guilt. Proving innocence was a great struggle. The government even had the right to censor news if it befitted them. Therefore, the immigrants were especially careful of what they said.

The rights and freedoms of Canadians were much different then, than what they are now. The people did not have land rights. In Upper Canada, the Family Compact and crown and clergy reserves owned most of the prime land. Hence, it was hard for the settlers to get land that was good for farming and roads for transportation. In Lower Canada, they were still using the old French seigneurial system. Petitioning was difficult and could lead to imprisonment. In Upper Canada, a citizen could be abolished to Bermuda or Australia for defying the laws. In fact, Robert Gourlay...