1848 & All That

A quick note about historical dates for my American friends and relatives. 1848 is my division of colonial history (transition from 1st British Empire to 2nd). Not 1776.

Why? Well, that’s the year that Nova Scotia achieved responsible government. The first outside the United Kingdom.

Responsible government means a government responsible to Parliament. ie. Crown Ministers are responsible to Parliament, where the executive or Cabinet is dependent on the support of an elected assembly, rather than on the monarch. In other words, “parliamentary democracy.” Responsible Government “originated in Canada in the 1830s and became an important part of Confederation. It’s the method by which Canada achieved independence without revolution.”

Yes, 1776 was a spark.

But 1848 was the litmus test. Great Britain had already lost the America colonies, and Upper (Ontario) & Lower (Quebec) Canada had suffered through despotic colonial governors to such extent that colonists revolted during the Rebellions of 1837-38. Great Britain did not want to lose more colonies. And we continued to be colonies for another century. But the impetus came from heroic domestic reformers.


And we turned out okay. Friends, neighbours, trading partners, and democratic allies. 

Quietly distinctly proud.

With as much feeling about this.

As when we regale each other about winning the War of 1812.

Image: http://By Bwark (talk) – I took this photograph myself on August 3, 2008. Bwark (talk) 12:15, 6 August 2008 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18742303

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