In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

242 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY The Canadian P. HUMPHREY *'Canada and Hcr Great by H. F. Angus, by R. M. Ryerson, 1938, $5,50. The Rise dl1glo-Amcrium by Lionel M. $5.00. an introduction 1938, REVIEWS 243 unnatural horror of a civil war." Newspapers, however, are at least as much opinion-forming agencies as reliable mirrors of opinions actually held, a fact which the investigators seem to have forgotten in several instances; and it is to be hoped that Balfour·s sentiments were shared by many Canadians. Incidents such as the Venezuelan boundary dispute have fortunately been rare; and Canadian unfriendliness to the United States has more often expended itself in petty criticism. We are too familiar with the forms this criticism takes. They are all examined here; and one wonders what enormities the editors can possibly have deleted by the sandpapering process referred to above. Unfair criticism of the United States is not confined to Canada. I remember a conversation that I had several years ago with a well-known French historian, in the course of which he attributed many of the ills of modern France to "l'americanisme." I was glad to be able to challenge his statement and to pointout that what he called iil'ameri_ canisme" was a universal phenomenon, born of industrialism and urbanization. This phenomenon is no more specifically American than is the setting of the sun or the movement of the tides. The conditions which the historian had in mihd were, it is true, more pronounced in the' United States than in other countries, but this was only because the process of industrialization, and hence urbanization , had gone further in that country than in any other. Having regard to their close proximity to the United States, and to the fact that the American industrial system is the only one with which they have had any intimate experience, Canadians are particularly apt to make the same mistake. When one remembers the distorted view of American life which comes to us by the radio, the movies, and the tabloids, and the prejudices which are largely (but not altogether) remnants of colonialism, one need not be surprised at the unfavourable attitudes and opinions of Canadians regarding the United States, which this book reveals~ This brings us to a consideration of educational policy. ((The plain fact is that Canadian citizens of the future are being brought up in closer contact with the life and culture of a politically foreign country than any other children in the world. It is not within the power of governments to change this fact, but it is within their power to accord intelligent recognition to it. Such recognition, if it were accorded, would take the form of including in the school curriculum instruction designed to correlate and organize the varied impressions which Canadian children pick 244 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY up about the United States." It must not be thought, however, that the book is a brief for educational reform: the authors rarely turn aside from their main purpose, which is to state as objectively as possible the attitudes and opinions actually manifested by Canadians. It must be admitted, however, that the Canadian attitude to the United States has improved since the Great \Var. Armed conflict with the United States today would be unthinkable whatever the issue involved. Another example of changed attitudes is the reception accorded the recent trade agreements as compared with the reaction to the Reciprocity Treaty in 1911: Canadians are, apparently, no longer afraid of American absorption. An important feature of the book is the light which lt throws on the Canadian character, though the reader will be obliged to ask himself more than once whether there is any such thing as a distinct Canadian character. The positive content of a popularly held ideal of that character is set forth on page 245; and the ideal is described as "essentially dull" and «apt to repel the youth of the country," a judgment with which many will agree. The poverty of EnglishCanadian national life, when all considerations based on imperial pageantry and sentiment are subtracted, is indicated in the introduction to the tenth chapter. Finally, a...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 242-246
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.