The current version of the Teachers’ Zone will not display optimally in your browser. Please upgrade it for the best experience.

Stories of Confederation

Charlotte Gray on the most decisive moment leading up to Confederation

Video

Image


Video


Audio


Activities

LOOK

Watch this video clip and read the transcript below. What is Charlotte Gray’s main point?


THINK

Charlotte Gray argues that the adoption of responsible government in Canada was the most important moment leading up to Confederation. Do you agree with her? Explain why or why not.

Tip: Think about the Historical Thinking concept of historical significance. Moments in history and primary sources are considered historically significant if they result in change, reveal something important about history or occupy a meaningful place in the historical narrative.


THINK

Compare Charlotte Gray’s video clip with fellow historian Éric Bédard’s clip, in which he argues that the Québec Conference was the most important moment leading up to Confederation. Who do you agree with and why?

Extension: There are plenty of moments that could be considered the most important. Using information found in this package, make a list of all the moments that were important in the lead-up to Confederation.


DO

Hold a classroom debate on what was the most important moment leading up to Confederation. Could Confederation have happened based on only one of those moments?


Details

Date 2015
Object Origin Central
Materials
Credit / Object Number Canadian Museum of History, 2015

Transcript

The most significant moment, probably, in the voyage to Confederation what when Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine from Lower Canada met Robert Baldwin from Upper Canada and these two lawyers, thoughtful men, excellent politicians realized that they could work together and that they did not have to follow Lord Durham’s blueprint. And they realized, in fact, that they could start us on the road to a country where people belong to the country not because of shared tribal loyalties, but because of a political citizenship a – the political act of belonging to one country, which didn’t necessarily require racial or national uniformity.  I think that was probably the most important moment. 

Historical Context

Choose one of the three levels below to match your needs.

  • This video clip shows historian Charlotte Gray discussing what she believes was the most important moment leading up to Confederation: the formation of a responsible government.
  • A responsible government is held accountable to the people and depends on the support of an elected assembly.

  • This video clip shows historian Charlotte Gray discussing what she believes was the most important moment leading up to Confederation: the formation of a responsible government.
  • A responsible government is held accountable to the people and depends on the support of an elected assembly.

Summary

  • This video clip shows historian Charlotte Gray discussing what she believes was the most important moment leading up to Confederation: the formation of a responsible government.
  • A responsible government is held accountable to the people and depends on the support of an elected assembly.

Essential

In this video clip, historian Charlotte Gray shares what she believes was the most important moment in the lead-up to Confederation: Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine and Robert Baldwin meeting and forming a responsible government.

A responsible government is one that is responsible to the people and that depends on the support of an elected assembly, as opposed to a government that is appointed directly by the Crown. In Canada, responsible government was achieved by an unlikely pair: La Fontaine and Baldwin.


In-Depth

In this video clip, historian Charlotte Gray shares what she believes was the most important moment in the lead-up to Confederation: Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine and Robert Baldwin meeting and forming a responsible government.

A responsible government is one that is responsible to the people and that depends on the support of an elected assembly, as opposed to a government that is appointed directly by the Crown. In Canada, responsible government was achieved by an unlikely pair: La Fontaine and Baldwin.

Under responsible government, newly empowered elected officials were able to play an increasingly important role in the daily lives of ordinary people. Colonial legislatures passed laws that established public school systems, reorganized municipal governments, expanded prisons and asylums, and broadened voting rights. A greater number of men, including African-Canadian property owners, could now vote.  Many other groups, however, such as women, poor men and Indigenous people, were not entitled to vote.

Responsible government gave the Fathers of Confederation the power and support they needed to transform their vision of a federal dominion into a reality.


Other objects related to The Road to Responsible Government