Gerald M. Craig's history, first published fifty years ago, is still considered one of the best depictions of Upper Canada ever written. Beginning in the early 1770s, Craig evocatively recounts the region's development from a "few scattered pioneer settlements" to an advanced society in the early 1840s. In these years, Ontario as we know it was forged, from education, transportation, and government to relations with the newly independent United States of America.
Ontario's formative years were marked by growth and change, as well as political upheaval. In the late 1770s, the fertile land of what would become Upper Canada was sparsely settled. As some forty thousand British Loyalists left revolutionary America and moved north and west, many came to this region, bringing with them a wide range of expectations, knowledge, and skills-not to mention a new range of problems. Land was purchased from the Mississaugas and other First Nations groups and allocated
to the Loyalists to build homes and farms, paving the way for future land conflict.
As Craig recounts, British officials began to organize a government that could accommodate the newcomers, as well as French- and English-speakers. This entailed, among other things, addressing the overall constitutional issue of Canada. A legislative council, legislative assembly, and governor were installed, modelled on the British parliamentary system-a structure that would undergo significant change over the next sixty years. In vivid detail Craig retells the landmark events of the time,
including the abolishment of slavery, establishment of a bilingual nation, the Family Compact, the War of 1812, and the Rebellions of 1837. At the end of his history is the formation of the Province of Canada in 1841-the country's final incarnation before Confederation.
This wide-ranging account, illustrated with four maps and figures, addresses the growth and conflict, both internal and external, seen in the sixty years following the influx of the Loyalists and explores the politics and society during this period of remarkably rapid change. The Wynford edition is updated for the modern reader with a new introduction by historian Jeffrey L. McNairn.
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Canada
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 440 g
Dimensions: 294 x 109 x 35 mm
"A work of first-class scholarship."
--Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science
"The author gives a remarkably clear and readable account. . . . [With] the high standard of historical writing displayed . . . [Craig] has succeeded in making the book a pleasure to read."
--W.H. Parker, Geographical Journal
"Craig's treatment of the history of Upper Canada is a work of sophisticated scholarship . . . Craig is at his best."
--John S. Galbraith, American Historical Review
"He has a keen eye for significant contemporary commentary. . . . Invaluable to Canadian historians."
--Mason Wade, Journal of American History
"A fascinating account of a rich and variegated community. . . . One of the most scholarly, most readable, and best balanced of national histories, and a testimony that Canadian historical studies compare favourably with that of any nation."
--H.S. Ferns, English Historical Review
"Craig has skilfully picked out the threads of continuity to weave a coherent narrative. . . . This is a very readable and persuasive book with carefully articulated and logically developed themes. . . . It is an excellent volume, a significant contribution."
--Donald F. Warner, Journal of Modern History