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Judging Acts

An essay using the Canada in the Making site

Student Guide

Over the course of a century, the British government of the province of Québec (later Lower Canada, then Canada East) attempted to find a balance in governing the people. It could not have been easy: the population, at first almost entirely foreign, changed a great deal after the American Revolution - and kept changing. This population change created tensions on many levels. The essay below will give you the opportunity to examine one of these acts, study the events around it, and decide whether or not it succeeded in the drafters' aims.

The Topic

Your essay will examine one of the documents below in the context of the events surrounding it:

1. The Royal Proclamation, 1763:
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/constitution/constitution6_e.html
2. The Québec Act, 1774:
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/constitution/constitution7_e.html
3. The Constitutional Act, 1791:
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/constitution/constitution8_e.html
4. The Union Act, 1840:
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/constitution/constitution11_e.html
5. The British North America Act, 1867:
URL: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/constitution/constitution13_e.html

The Research

In order to complete this essay, it will be useful to read about Canada's Constitutional History:

You will also need to read biographies of important people involved in the movement for responsible government. See the Biographies page:

The Essay

For the document that you choose, consider:

1. The events that led to it being written.
2. The specific aims for which it was written.
3. How those aims were dealt with in the act (the language used, provisions, etc.).
4. How the people reacted.
5. Did it succeed or fail in its goals? Why or why not?

Essay Requirements

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).

  • A bibliography.

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
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 your arguments.

For tips on how to use primary sources, go to the "Using Primary Sources in Your Work" page.
URL: http://www.canadian.org/citm/guide/essay_e.html

Secondary sources
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 by experts.

The Canadian Encyclopedia
URL: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com

National Archives of Canada: Canada's Constitutional Evolution
URL: http://www.archives.ca/05/051103_f.html (French)
URL: http://www.archives.ca/05/051103_e.html (English)

Solon Law Archives: Canadian Constitutional Documents
URL: http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/

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