The lion, the eagle, and Upper Canada : a developing colonial ideology /
Jane Errington.
Kingston [Ont.] : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1987.
272 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0773506039 :
More Details
Kingston [Ont.] : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1987.
0773506039 :
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [249]-268) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1988-06:
Errington (Royal Military College of Canada) suggests that the founders and residents of Upper Canada prior to 1828 ``tried to wed the Old World ideas of the British Constitution, of the monarchy, and of the social and parliamentary traditions of Great Britain to the North American environment and New World beliefs and practices.'' She also sees the evolution of political ideology by Upper Canadians inextricably linked to both England and the US. Upper Canadians detested American republicanism, but admired American material success. At the same time, they viewed the British political system as a role model difficult to apply to the conditions of the New World. Much of this argument is a modification of the rejection of the ``all things American'' interpretation of the period, expressed by Canadian historian S.F. Wise and others. Errington bases her argument on contemporary newspapers, supplemented by private papers and public records. The work displays the weaknesses of an extended dissertation, compounded by poor editing that allows frequent repetition. Several illustrations and 80 pages of notes, bibliography, and index are helpful. Upper-division undergraduates and above.-P.T. Sherrill, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Review Quotes
"an important book, making significant contributions to the study of political ideology." Elwood Jones, History, Trent
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1988
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Main Description
It has generally been assumed that the political and social ideas of early Upper Canadians rested firmly on veneration of eighteenth-century British conservative values and unequivocal rejection of all things American. Jane Errington's examination of the attitudes and beliefs of the Upper Canadian elite between 1784 and 1828, as seen through their private papers, public records, and the newspapers of the time, suggests that this view is far too simplistic.
Main Description
Errington argues that in order to appreciate the evolution of Upper Canadian beliefs, particularly the development of political ideology, it is necessary to understand the various and changing perceptions of the United States and of Great Britain held by different groups of colonial leaders. Colonial ideology inevitably evolved in response to changing domestic circumstances and to the colonists' knowledge of altering world affairs. It is clear, however, that from the arrival of the first loyalists in 1748 to the passage of the Naturalization Bill in 1828, the attitudes and beliefs of the Upper Canadian elite reflect the fact that the colony was a British- American community. Errington reveals that Upper Canada was never as anti-American as popular lore suggests, even in the midst of the War of 1812. By the mid 1820s, largely due to their conflicting views of Great Britain and the United States, Upper Canadians were irrevocably divided. The Tory administration argued that only by decreasing the influence of the United States, enforcing a conservative British mould on colonial society, and maintaining strong ties with the Empire could Upper Canada hope to survive. The forces of reform, on the other hand, asserted that Upper Canada was not and could not become a re-creation of Great Britain and that to deny its position in North America could only lead to internal dissent and eventual amalgamation with the United States. Errington's description of these early attempts to establish a unique Upper Canadian identity reveals the historical background of a dilemma which has yet to be resolved.
Bowker Data Service Summary
It has generally been assumed that the political and social ideas of early Upper Canadians rested on veneration of 18th-century British conservative values and rejection of all things American. Errington's examination of the beliefs of the Upper Canadian elite between 1784 and 1828, suggests that this view is too simplistic.

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