William Lyon Mackenzie

Essay by poopHigh School, 10th gradeA, January 2007

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Traitor or Hero?

Was William Lyon Mackenzie a traitor or a hero? Some believe that he just enabled the appointed officials of Upper and Lower Canada to stay in power longer; others believe he helped Canada gain responsible government. After researching William Lyon Mackenzie my opinion is of the former. I think in the beginning as a journalist and politician speaking out against the corrupt compact group of Upper Canada he was helping the process, but as he became more radical I think William set back the cause.

In my opinion, William Lyon Mackenzie was a traitor. After many failed attempts at peaceful resolutions through the reform party, he deemed it necessary to resort to violence. He intended to bring down the government and seize control of York (Toronto) to force the changes upon the people, whether they thought his opinions about reform were right or not. That is indeed treason, although his rebellion was more of a joke than anything, it was an armed rebellion nonetheless.

If your rebellion isn't successful that makes you a traitor. Mackenzie resorted to force when it became clear that he was not going to be able to gain the support needed to enact the reform changes he was fighting for. He became very radical in his views and wanted an American-like constitution, where he lost a lot of support from people with more moderate ideals. Mackenzie was very Pro-American and suggested that Upper Canada join the U.S. They were only seeking a responsible government, not what Mackenzie was proposing. Most of his supporters during the rebellion were farmers who were eager to take down, "The Establishment," during the depression and were emboldened by the fact that the regular army had gone to Lower Canada to quell the rebellion there. Mackenzie's 700 supporters were...