Different Perspectives: The Durham Report and Act of Union
An essay using the Canada in the Making site
Student Work Sheet
After the Upper and Lower Canada rebellions of 1837, Lord Durham
was sent from England to investigate the cause of the unrest. He
produced his famous and highly controversial Report on the Affairs
of British North America (also known as the Durham Report) after
a short stay in the region. This led to the Act of Union, 1840.
This essay will require you to read the text of the report and comment
on its significance to one of the political groups of the time.
You will write an essay on the events and consequences of the Durham
Report, paying special attention to the recommendations, the tone
of the report itself and the impact on one of the political groups
You may find it useful to conduct your research in groups.
Your essay should comment on:
The Nature of British Colonial Rule, 1763-1840
Give a brief summary of:
a. The significance of the Québec Act, 1774
b. The American Revolution
c. The significance of the Constitutional Act, 1791
d. The system of government in place in both colonies.
Some of the major problems with the British system of rule
around the time of the rebellions.
Briefly comment on:
a. Some of the causes for the rebellions in both Upper and Lower
b. The British government's reaction to the rebellions.
The Durham Report
Your essay should comment on:
What Durham thought the main source of the problems were in
the Upper and Lower Canada.
What his major recommendations were.
Consequences of the Durham Report:
Comment on the consequences of the Durham Report:
What was the reaction of your chosen focus group to the Durham
a. Did they support the report's findings?
b. In what way did it address the group's demands or expectations?
c. In what ways did it fail to address their demands and expectations?
Long Term consequences
a. What were the long-term consequences of the events and the
documents discussed above on your group?
b. Did your group achieve its aims later? If so, which aims
did it achieve and by what means?
The paper should be _____________ words long. It should contain:
A title page with a title, your name, the course name, your
teacher's name and the date submitted.
A clear introduction with a thesis statement.
Proper citation (footnotes/endnotes or APA/MLA style, as determined
by your teacher).
Make an effort to use primary sources to support your arguments.
These can be found on the Canada in the Making Web site.
Note on Sources
Primary sources represent the most authentic resources that historians
can draw upon. The documents that you will be using below may be
digitized, but are still considered primary sources. Try to use
the sources available on the "Canada's Constitutional History"
portion of the Canada in the Making Web site to strengthen
For tips on how to use primary sources, go to the "Using Primary
Sources in Your Work" page.
Secondary sources are works that interpret or analyze an historical
event or phenomenon. Generally the author is at least one step removed
from the event. Although not as authentic as primary sources, secondary
sources are still valuable.
Possible Sources of Information Online
Note: It is important to choose sources that are produced
by reputable institutions or individuals. Such information is more
likely to give you a balanced, neutral view and be prepared or reviewed
Canada in the Making: Canada's Constitutional History
The Canadian Encyclopedia
National Archives of Canada: Canada's Constitutional Evolution
National Library of Canada: Towards Confederation: Lower Canada
National Library of Canada: Towards Confederation: Upper Canada
Solon Law Archives: Canadian Constitutional Documents
The Rebellions of 1837 and 1838
Canada in the Making: Canada's Constitutional History: 1837
- 1839: Rebellion
Canada in the Making: The Rebellions of 1837 and 1838
The Durham Report and the Union Act, 1840
Canada in the Making: Canada's Constitutional History:
1839 - 1849: Union and Responsible Government