Economic Growth in Canada Surged in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries Term Paper

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Economic Growth in Canada Surged in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

The economic progress in any country depends on the land, the people, politics and the society that they live in. We shall assume that all men are equal as that is the accepted norm in the world today, at least among the educated and developed, though this feeling was not prevalent till some years ago. In terms of area, both the countries of United States and Canada are similar. The only difference that exists is that Canada is situated north of United States and that leads to the seasons being different and the crops cultivable in that region being different. Whether that makes much of a difference to economy, it would be difficult to comment on. In terms of natural resources, both countries have their own strengths and weaknesses and even that should not make any material difference.

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Unlike United States, Canada had always been populated by people from both England and France. United States also had whites and blacks, but the blacks were not believed to be humans for a long period, maybe even well into the twentieth century. The cause of blacks also led to the American Civil War and that resolved the status of blacks being men or slaves. This war also happened a little before this period that we are now talking about. It lasted from 1861 to 1865. The other important aspect was that Canada was viewed always as a vassal of both Europe and United States. The reason for this difference from U.S. is probably due to the fact that U.S. had gained its independence from Britain much earlier, whereas Canada had remained a colony of United Kingdom. This led to important decisions for this country being taken in England, and naturally the base for those decisions by the 'wise old men' there would have been to look into the benefits that UK would gain from the changes.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Economic Growth in Canada Surged in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries Assignment

The local individuals were only interested in making a living, and they also had no decision making capacity. This factor can be seen in the attitude of the Canadian federal government. This government has always been in conflict with the provincial governments for giving greater importance to the King of England. This does not mean that one is saying the citizens were very badly off, but it only means that the economic progress was less than it could have happened otherwise. One of the reasons for the growth to speed up was the departure of a large number of French Canadians during this period. This removed one of the main restrictions on the development of the economy as they had been thwarting the efforts of the other constituents to push the country forward. The importance of this can be understood when one considers that all persons of French Canadian ancestry in U.S. had their relatives in Canada. These showed a clear and determined progress of the country in economic direction, whereas the acceptance of this departure in sociological terms is difficult, as they were one of initial developers of the country and were supposed to be protected by a number of treaties/agreements.

The direct reason for progress was the start of the National Policy which had a reservation policy for goods made in Canada. This also helped in the development of projects required by Canada like the expansion into the west and development of railroads. The development was rapid due to this policy and led to development of new centers of industrialization and commercialization. In a way, one can say that this was the beginning of an era of change for Canada from an agriculture-forest-based economy to an industrial economy. The change in economy can also be seen from the situation of workers, and they also started getting organized. In Canada, one of the most progressive types of Unions came into being, and this probably reflects the general attitude of the people there. Even Labor Day was being observed in this country from 1894. The union is also notable from its workings which were more progressive than others of that time.

The growth of population was from many countries and in a way the diversion of the population which was earlier going to U.S.. The diversion took place as U.S. had no more land to offer free to its immigrant population, whereas new areas of Canada were being filled up for the first time. Apart from agriculture, new industry was also coming up and these were in part from the discovery of new minerals, another part due to the requirement of building up facilities for the country, and finally for changing the system with time. This led to rapid increases in population of urban centers and this again led to more industry. All the industrialization during this period led to growth of the economy as a whole. The situation in the country was the same as it was earlier, but the people had not found it attractive enough as they had opportunities at that time to emigrate to U.S..

The question is not in dispute as to whether it was a period of growth for the French economy - it certainly was. The nation filled at that time the role of the nation of opportunity for the excess population of Europe, and that had been happening for a long time. The population in countries like U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and South America are the unwanted or adventurous people of European origin. They had ended up mixing with the locals or Negroes in some cases and built a nation in those areas. The situation of Canada was similar, but here the problem was that the traditional struggle in Europe between the French and the British were carried over here. This conflict did not permit the nation to reach its full potential. Even today the country has not attained full independence and efforts are going on for achievement. Till that is done, the country will not be able to take the full advantage of the situations that it faces. In certain times, the country apparently still had rapid economic development, in spite of the difficulties in deciding whether it is a nation or not, and this period was one of the best for growth.


The two countries lying next to one another are similar in many ways - United States of America and Canada. Canada also has large areas of land and this land was filled with different trees, animals and minerals which men had found to be useful to their needs. When one tries to look at the economic history of Canada, one notices that it is mainly filled with human efforts to collect various resources from land that were already available. This for Canada is in the form of animal furs, timber, grain, petroleum and natural gas. At the same time, the country had people from two different nations in Europe which has a history of continually fighting for the control of the world till the Second World War, when their dreams for a world-wide empire finally ended. This dream also brought them into conflict in Canada and this had hurt the development prospects of this nation for a long period. (Watkins, the Economic History of Canada)


Unlike United States, a large part of what is now Canada was first settled by people from France, and these are in the St. Lawrence River Valley and Acadia, or what is now known as Nova Scotia. In these areas, the main occupation in the early days was to rely on subsistence agriculture. In these areas there were also animals available for trapping and these were traded in Quebec. The fish caught in Acadia were also traded in Quebec and the proceeds from both were used to pay for the imports of the country. The fur available, especially from beaver was very useful, but the number of animals has always been limited. The greater interest was in the extraction of timber which was also traded in Quebec. At this stage the economy was affected by political and nationality considerations. The British captured Quebec and Acadia, and as they did not trust the French, they expelled them from those areas. These people made their way south, and some reached Louisiana to be called Cajuns there.

When the French origin individuals moved out, there were the people from Scotland who came in and this led to the change in the name of Acadia to Nova Scotia, or New Scotland. There were also loyalists who came in from what is now United States and those people also settled and that area was called New Brunswick. This shows the affinity between United States and Canada, and the link between Western Canada and Eastern Canada was maintained by linking both these systems to U.S. transcontinental railroads. These are all political and other considerations which affected the economic development of the country. Initially the country developed dairying and livestock and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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