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In the nineteenth century, epidemic diseases like smallpox and cholera ravaged Canadian society. Why was it so difficult to contain these contagions? What impact did these diseases have on Canadian society?

Select a research topic from the list which follows.  This paper should be approximately 2000 words in length, plus endnotes (or footnotes) and bibliography.  You must not use embedded (in-text) citations as these interrupt the flow of your essay.  Use at least four articles or books focussed specifically on your topic.  Any general textbook, popular or internet sources must be in addition to these four.  Remember: this is the minimum required for this assignment.  This essay is worth 15% of the course mark. Late penalties will be calculated at the rate of 2% per day.


The following two guides to historical research techniques may be of assistance:


Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1993)


William Storey and Towser Jones, Writing History: A Guide for Canadian Students,  (Don Mills, Oxford University Press, 2008)


1.         How and when did human populations enter the new world? Are there differences between Amerindian and European accounts of those events?


2.         The early history of Canada is replete with stories of heroic exploration.  Select one of the following explorers and describe his adventures, providing a critical  assessment of his contribution and abilities: Cartier, Cabot, Frobisher, Hudson.


3.         Amerindian societies were dramatically affected by contact with Europeans. We have seen how this contact altered Huron society.  Select one of the following themes and describe, in detail, how and why contact with Europeans disrupted traditional practices: trade, warfare, religion, disease.

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4.         Why was the so-called “company phase” in the colony of New France brought to an end in 1663?  Was its replacement, Royal Government, any more effective in achieving the aims of France, 1663-1701?


5.         “Contemporary research has changed the historical image of many of the ‘heroes’ of New France.  Notable among this group are Frontenac and Champlain, whose over-inflated reputations are now coming into line with historical reality.”  Comment on this statement with specific reference to either Champlain or Frontenac, or both.


6.         Compare and contrast the contributions of the following religious orders to the development of New France:  the Jesuits, the Recollets, the Ursulines.


7.         Compare and contrast the role of the church in pre-conquest New France with its role in the conquered colony between 1760 and 1791.


8.         How important was the seigneurial system in shaping the economic and social life of New France?


9.         Select three historians who have written on the conquest- especially its implications for the development of the colony’s economy and society- and compare and contrast their interpretations.  (Some suggestions:  Francis Parkman, Michel Brunet, Fernand Ouellet, Leandre Bergeron, Allan Greer)


10.       Who were the Loyalists?  Why did they leave the United States?  What was their impact on Canada and Nova Scotia in the eighteenth century?


11.       “In refusing to join the rebellious Americans, the inhabitants of Canada and the Maritime Colonies demonstrated that they realized that stable monarchical government was far preferable to the excesses of republicanism.”  Would you agree with this interpretation of the unwillingness of Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to join the American Revolution?


12.       Discuss the economic and social relations between natives and white fur traders in the pre-Confederation Northwest.  How far did they succeed in creating a functional, integrated society? (Hint: See the work of Sylvia Van Kirk))


13.       “The famous report of Lord Durham has lost its prestige, and day by day its errors and inadequacies become more apparent.”  (J.C. Bracq, 1927)


“Durham was an imperialist, a racist, and a liberal.” (L. Bergeron, 1971)


Analyze the Durham Report in the light of these two quotations.


14.       Canadian historians like to explain the socio-economic development of Canada in terms of the exploitation of a series of “staple” products.  Using this analysis, discuss the history of Canada before 1840 with specific reference to the fur trade, the Atlantic cod fisheries, and the square timber trade.  What deficiencies, if any, do you find in this analytical framework?


15.       Discuss the importance of navigation and/or railroads in shaping the Canadian economy between the beginning of the nineteenth century and Confederation.


16.       Discuss the extent, the nature, and the causes of transiency in mid-nineteenth century Canadian society. (Hint: See the work of Michael Katz)


17.       Critically analyze the rise of the public school system in Canada West under the Union and explain the motives of its promoters.


18.       “The rebellions of Upper and Lower Canada ended in miserable failure.  In Upper Canada even a majority of the Reformers were opposed to Mackenzie.  In Lower Canada only the more thoughtless habitants allowed themselves to be carried away by the eloquence of Papineau.”  Would you accept this conclusion?  Why or why not?


19.       Account for the origins and character of French Canadian nationalism before 1837.


20.       How did the pioneer experience in Upper Canada affect the social roles of women?


21.       The Irish arrived in the Canadas in great numbers in the nineteenth century.  Why did they come? How were they received? What success did they have in their new homes? (Hint: See the work of Donald Akenson)


23.       In the nineteenth century, epidemic diseases like smallpox and cholera ravaged Canadian society.  Why was it so difficult to contain these contagions?  What impact did these diseases have on Canadian society?


24.       The idea of British North American confederation had been discussed throughout the nineteenth century.  Why did it become a reality in the 1860s?


25.       Compare the views of J.A. Macdonald, G. Cartier and G. Brown on the nature of Confederation.


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