Ruling Wisely? British Rule after the Conquest
An essay using the Canada in the Making site
When the British took control of New France in 1763, they found
themselves ruling a vast area populated by a people who spoke a
different language, had different customs, different systems of
government and law, different religious beliefs and different social
relationships. Naturally, this presented problems. The essay assigned
below will give you the opportunity to compare two early Canadian
constitutional documents that attempted to deal with these issues.
Your essay will compare the Royal Proclamation of
1763 and the Québec Act of 1774 in the context of
the events surrounding the times.
Examples of possible thesis statements are:
The Québec Act was an attempt to address the problems
created by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
The Québec Act was more the product of a desire to avoid
rebellion in the province than to improve the situation for
The Royal Proclamation and the Québec Act represent
two conflicting philosophies within the British ruling elite:
one that favoured accommodation of French Canadian language
and culture, and one that favoured assimilation.
Most French Canadians were not satisfied with either act as
they both limited their ability to govern themselves.
Most French Canadians were apathetic about both documents as
they did little to change the way they were governed.
You may also develop your own thesis statement. Be sure to have
the approval of your instructor before continuing.
In order to complete this essay, it will be useful to read these
pages in the thematic section "Canada's Constitutional History":
You will also need to read biographies of important people involved
in the movement for responsible government. See the Biographies
In comparing the documents, consider the following:
1. The historical events around the two documents
a. The Conquest
b. The agitation of the British merchants in Québec
c. The American Revolution
2. The conditions in New France before and after 1760
b. Social classes
3. The changes brought about by the Royal Proclamation
4. The changes brought about by the Québec Act
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
The Canadian Encyclopedia
National Archives of Canada: Canada's Constitutional Evolution
Solon Law Archives: Canadian Constitutional Documents