Canada's struggle for a National Identity: This essay argues that the Canadian's discovered their national identity as a result of WWI's battle of Vimy Ridge.

Essay by nfennemaCollege, UndergraduateA, February 2004

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Canadians have struggled with their sense of national identity for many decades, spanning from before Confederation to present day. Although the size of the country is massive, her population is not, and the whole of Canada is so culturally diverse that it can be difficult for the population to unite together as one. However, although important, this is not one of the main issues in the Canadian quest for a national identity, as her real problems lie in her past.

Although most Canadians feel independent of Britain now, they haven't always, as even after Confederation in 1867 it was difficult for Canada to obtain identity as a separate country and not just as one of Britain's colonies. Living in the shadow of one of the world's most powerful nations, the United States, has never helped Canadians retain a sense of identity either. Great Britain and the United States played huge roles in not only Canadians' sense of national identity but also in the country's development, as both countries influenced her greatly as she took her first steps toward becoming the country that she is today.

Between Confederation and throughout much of the First World War Canadians were overwhelmed with a sense of placelessness; however, it was participation in the war that helped Canadians to achieve a new sense of independence, as well as to grant recognition of the nation as a nation around the world.

When Canada finally became her own country in 1867, her population was ecstatic. At last they were going to be free of Britain and recognized as Canadians, real Canadians, and not as British subjects living in just another of her colonies. Much to their surprise, and disappointment, the Canadian population soon realized that in fact they were not free yet of Britain. Sure, they were...