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REVIEWS' THE UNGUARDED FRONTIER* J. W. DAFOE The greatest political fact of modern times, according to Bismarck , was that English was the language of North ' America (north of the Gulf of Mexico 'and the Rio Grande). Of equal significance is the circumstance that the vast geographical area to which he referred is divided between two kindred nations which, while taking full possession of the continent, have managed for a hundred and twenty-eight years to keep the peace between them..;,. selves through a series of crises which, under the conditions of the Old \;Vorld, would have made a succession of wars inevitable. The series of studies issued by the Carnegie Endowment for International ~eace) under the direction of Dr James T. Shotwell, now vir;tually complete with the issue of the latest volume, covers the whole field with acompleteness which leaves nothing to be desired; but it is beyond the power of the general reader to master the score of volumes in wh,ich the 'group of historians, American and Ca- ' nadian , who took part in this great enterprise, have embodied their researches and recorded their conclusions. There has therefore been a need for a single volume telling the full story of Canadian-American relationships. This has now been supplied by Edgar W. McInnis, of the Department of Historyof the University of Toronto, in a yolume with the happy title: The Unguarded Frontier. The story begins with the daring designs of the French to build an empire in the central part of the continent, thus restricting the English to the narrow strip east of the Appalachian Range, and in its closing pages it records the full acceptance by Canada and the United States of a condition of interdependence by the setting up of joint economic committees and the joint Defence Board. The'author closes on the note that the King-Roosevelt policies may (and, in the opinion of the author, should) replace "the unquiet attitudes of the past with a mutual trust and co-operation, based on the realization that- political separatism is not only no , insuperable'barrier, but may even be an asset to the free partnership *The Unguarded Frontier: ' A History of American-Canadian Relations, by EDGAR W. MclNNIS, Department of History, University of Toronto. New York, Doubleday, Doran and Co.' [Toronto, McClelland and Stewart], 1942, $3.75. 221 222 THE. UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY of nations who are animated by common ideals and possessed of a common heritage." . The general reader, whose ideas about the relationship between Canada and the United States have been derived from purple passages of oratory dilating upon the hundred and more years of unbroken peace, will find much to surprise him in Professor McInnis 's pages. Such a. reader should understand that in' the relationships between Canada and the United States, until very recent times, Canada's contribution upon occasions of stress and _ danger did not go beyond the .influence it could exert upon the policies of Great Britain. There were issues and disputes during the century and more of "profound peace," which could have given rise to half-a-dozen wars if the parties to them had been empires instead of being fundamentally peace-loving democracies subject to recurring spasms of imperialistic feeling; The anchor that held · during these storms was the "disposition favorable to fiiendship and good neighborhood" with 'its requirement of frank negotiation .and a moral obligation, not always observed, to submit issues to arbitration, which the terms of the Jay-Grenville Treaty of 1794 infused into Anglo-American relationships. This obligation to find peaceful adjustments for dangerous issues was reinforced by certain prudential conside·rations. If the British in the stress of a crisis had to take stock of the defencelessness of Canada, the United States had to bear in mind its relative helplessness on the high seas. By good fortune, also, it usually hap'pened that when there was a fire-eat'e~ in the State Department of one power, his opposite number was cool-headed and relatively moderate in his attitude. Thus in the McLeod case (the very name of which has faded out of the public memory, though it brought the two countries to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 221-225
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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