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Module 9

The Rebellions of 1837-8 in Lower and Upper Canada: Why did people take up arms against the government?

Colin Coates

In 1837 and 1838, rebels in both Lower and Upper Canada attacked state authorities in an attempt to change the political structure. This module looks at the revolutionary rhetoric as well as the later explanations of individuals who became caught up in the rebellion. We explore the motivations of individuals who choose this political stance and the difficulties that historians have in determining the motivations of people in the past.

Primary sources:

  1. Text : Address by the Sons of Liberty of Montreal to the young people of the North American Colonies (October 4th, 1837)
  2. Text: Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada (1838)
  3. Painting: Jane Ellice, Rebels at Beauharnois (1838)
  4. Text: The Diary of Jane Ellice (1838)
  5. Text: Testimony from the court martial of some of the rebels in Report of the State Trials, Before a General Court Martial Held at Montreal in 1838-1839 (1839)
  6. Text: Address Of Touchette, Rochon, Goyette, Chevrefils, and Laberge in Report of the State Trials, Before a General Court Martial Held at Montreal in 1838-1839 (1839)
  7. Text: W. L. Mackenzie on Resistance to Oppression, Constitution, Toronto (22 November 1837)
  8. Text: John Powell’s Account Of Events, Toronto (14 February 1838)
  9. Text: Petition of John A. Tidey To Sir F.B. Head, from the London Gaol (8 March 1838)
  10. Images: The Rebellion Box of Martin Switzer (1838)

Secondary sources:

  1. Allan Greer. ‘Two nations warring’ from The Patriots and the People: The Rebellion of 1837 in Rural Lower Canada (1993)
  2. H. Colin Read and Ronald J. Stagg. (eds.) The Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada: A Collection of Documents (1985)

Introduction

List of Modules -- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50