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SOCIAL STUDIES 433 SOCIAL STUDIES NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL Alexander Brady As the Canadian federation approaches its centenary an increased and anxious attention is devoted to its development and the centrifugal forces in its life. The upsurge of French-Canadian nationalism in Quebec and the evidence of a defiant regionalism in other provinces reinforce the trend to national self-analysis and appraisal. Of special interest, therefore , is an admirable account of the origins of federated Canada in Donald Creighton's The Road to Confederation: The Emergence of Canada (Macmillan of Canada, pp. xii, 489, illus., $7.50). This detailed history of four significant years (1863-67) is based on extensive research in manuscripts and newspapers, and written with imagination and distinction. At first its emphaSis appears to centre on political leaderstheir personalities, ideas, aims, and roles in creating the federal union. Thus John A. Macdonald, George Cartier, Charles Tupper, George Brown, A. T. Galt, and others, including the lieutenant governors, are scrutinized. Their political attitudes are discussed and their quirks of character depicted. But behind a lucid and skilful portrayal of individual men is a careful appraisal of the political forces, the contending interests and conflicting rivalries of the different colonies, combined with the interplay of external factors which helped to persuade the different governments in British North America to unite. The author begins with the movement for Maritime union, which originated in what he calls "a very private, beneficent conspiracy, hatched by only four plotters-Gordon, Tilley, Tupper, and the Duke of Newcastle ." But as he demonstrates, the cause of Maritime union had little vitality and soon waned, especially when the Canadians arrived at Charlottetown to submit the case for a federation of all British North America. Much of the story he narrates has been told before, notably by himself in lohn A. Macdonald: The Young Politician, by Maurice Careless in Brown of the Globe, volume two, and by P. B. Waite in The Life and Times of Confederation. But despite these earlier books The Road to Confederation has its own niche. It concentrates closely on the sequence of political events in a manner less possible in a biography. The full account given here of the progressive shaping of the constitution in the discussions at Charlottetown, Quebec, and London is invaluable. The author marshals abundant evidence On which we 434 LEITERS IN CANADA: 1964 can assess the work of the founding fathers. He is, of course, a self· confessed and confident admirer of the sagacity and far-sighted statesmanship of John A. Macdonald. Yet he does not refrain from disclosures suggesting that his hero was something less than infallible in his predictions on the-future federation. In December, 1864, Macdonald wrote to his friend, M. C. Cameron: "If Confederation goes on, you, if spared the ordinaty age of man, will see both local parliaments and governments absorbed in the general power. This is as plain to me as if I saw it accomplished." Few political prophecies in Canadian histoty were more wide of the mark. Professor Creighton is nOnarrow political historian_ Here as in earlier writings he has an alert eye for social detail and everyday things, whether it is the clothes of women at a ball, the food consumed at a public banquet, the architecture of colonial towns, Or the current enthusiasms of the populace. Bruce Hutchison in Mr. Prime Minister, 1867-1964 (Longmans Canada, pp. xiv, 394, ilIus., $7.50) discusses the character and achievements of the men who held the chief executive office in Canada for the last ninety-seven years. The author is a distinguished literary journalist who has written books on the history and personality of his country and on the career of Mackenzie King. The present work gives scope for his special skill in analysing the traits of political leaders and the kind of issues with which they have dealt. He makes no pretence to be a professional historian, diligent in explO ring primary documents. He reads widely in published histories and biographies. But the major basis for his knowledge and shrewdness in writing the present book is his forty-six years of reporting on Canadian polities. Of the fourteen prime ministers discussed he...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 433-442
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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