Prejudice and Pride

Prejudice and Pride: Canadian Intellectuals Confront the United States, 1891-1945

DAMIEN-CLAUDE BÉLANGER
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442685420
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  • Book Info
    Prejudice and Pride
    Book Description:

    Prejudice and Prideexamines and compares how English and French Canadian intellectuals viewed American society from 1891 to 1945.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8542-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-13)

    ‘The average Canadian attitude towards the United States and all things American cannot be permanently based upon pride and prejudice, or, to use one word, ignorance,’ warned Douglas Bush (1896–1983) in 1929.¹ Bush, who would spend most of his career teaching English at Harvard University, was part of a new and, some believed, irreverent generation of thinkers who came of age during the Great War and dominated English Canadian discourse during the 1920s and 1930s. Rejecting the imperialism that had largely permeated Canadian thought before the First World War, these intellectuals sought to affirm the inherently American nature of...

  5. 1 Canadian-American Relations: An Intellectual History
    (pp. 14-48)

    Though it has been argued that early Canadian views of America ‘were lacking in both understanding and information,’¹ this was certainly not the case by the turn of the twentieth century. Many Canadian intellectuals studied, worked, and travelled in the United States, and American newspapers, magazines, literature, and eventually, radio and film combined to make Canadians keenly aware of events and trends in the United States. Canadian interest in American affairs and in the Canadian-American relationship ebbed and flowed during the period under study, but it never ceased to occupy a prominent place in Canadian discourse. This was largely because,...

  6. 2 American Politics and Philosophy
    (pp. 49-77)

    Since its founding, the United States of America has embodied a variety of principles to the intellectuals of the world. These principles reflect, to a large extent, the intellectual’s era and perspective. In the 1830s, for instance, Tocqueville saw equality as one of the essential features of American society. On the other hand, more than a century later, Simone de Beauvoir, who also spent several months travelling across the nation, saw inequality as one of the hallmarks of the American experience. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Canadian intellectuals were inclined to view materialism, freedom, individualism, and equality...

  7. 3 Religion and Culture in the United States
    (pp. 78-95)

    The emergence of mass culture is a key element in modernity. In the modern world, culture is a commodity to be purchased and consumed like any other good or service. Moreover, it is standardized and relentlessly advertised and promoted by a cultural industry that seeks to generate vast profits and anticipate or create the next trend. In North America, culture began to experience its first signs of commodification and standardization in the mid-nineteenth century. Later, the spread of mass culture was hastened by the emergence of mass media and advertising, as new technologies like broadcasting became effective instruments of cultural...

  8. 4 Race and Gender in the United States
    (pp. 96-113)

    Ethnic and racial pluralism are not intrinsic to the modern ethos; neither is tolerance, for that matter. In fact, in the nineteenth century, modern science and scientism intensified rather than lessened racial exclusion. The modern ethos can indeed flourish in homogenous societies or within the confines of racial exclusivism. As a result, at the turn of the twentieth century, American segregationism was not inherently antimodern, and the nation’s rising multiculturalism was not necessarily a sign of modernization. However, in the United States, ethnic pluralism accompanied the rise of industry and urbanization, and a number of Canadian intellectuals considered the increasingly...

  9. 5 The Perils of Prosperity and the Search for Order
    (pp. 114-125)

    Industrialization and urbanization are integral to the modern ethos, and in the early 1900s, many Canadian intellectuals believed that industrial modernity had reached its paroxysm in the United States. Indeed, since the late nineteenth century, America had been increasingly identified with a specific economic system: industrial capitalism. Canadian conservatives, like their European counterparts, were very much in favour of free enterprise. Nevertheless, they often denounced massive urbanization, industrial gigantism, and monopolistic capitalism as threats to traditional modes of production and social organization. The right tended to prefer a system where industry was more decentralized, both in terms of its ownership...

  10. 6 Canadian Identity and America
    (pp. 126-143)

    Anti-American sentiment, nationalism, and the politics of Canadian identity have often shared a deep intimacy. During the period under study, these elements, along with a specifically anti-American reading of Canada’s physiography known as the Laurentian thesis, were tied to a wider discussion related to the modern ethos. Conservatives, particularly in English Canada, were eager to show that their nation, unlike the United States, was founded on the bedrock of tradition. Anti-Americanism has historically been the principal negative expression of the English Canadian identity. A defensive reaction generated by a people who share much in common with their American neighbours, it...

  11. 7 Twin Perils: Annexation and Americanization
    (pp. 144-160)

    The twin spectres of annexation and Americanization have long cast a shadow over the discussion of Canadian-American relations. Annexation, in particular, has been a recurring theme in Canadian political and intellectual debate. Generally speaking, the spectre of annexation is evoked when Canadians debate the merits of continental integration. However, in the nineteenth century, annexation was seriously discussed and debated on several occasions, particularly during periods of economic despair. Some Victorian intellectuals believed that the solution to Canada’s problems lay in continental union. Their ideas were well received in certain circles, and annexation was not far from being a legitimate political...

  12. 8 Canadian-American Relations and American Foreign Policy
    (pp. 161-182)

    During most of the period under study, the Canadian-American relationship was not fundamentally bilateral. British diplomats played a role in Canadian foreign affairs until the 1920s, and even after the 1931 Statute of Westminster, the Dominion of Canada’s ties to Great Britain continued to affect the course of Canadian-American relations. Canadian commentary regarding the Dominion’s relationship with its southern neighbour reflected this. To discuss Canadian-American relations, indeed, was also to discuss Canada’s connection to Britain. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Britain and the United States were often understood to be antithetical entities; to draw closer to one...

  13. 9 Canadian-American Trade, Unionism, and Migration
    (pp. 183-205)

    Issues related to tariffs, trade, and investment have long been integral to the intellectual history of Canadian-American relations. In English Canada, for instance, the debate surrounding reciprocity has traditionally aroused a great deal of passion and has acted as a litmus test for anti-American sentiment. Canada’s commercial relationship with the United States has generally been viewed as the paramount issue in Canadian-American relations. During the period under study, the free trade debate reached a fever pitch during the federal election of 1911, which was called by Wilfrid Laurier’s Liberals to decide the fate of a reciprocity agreement negotiated with the...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 206-218)

    ‘The United States, though a young nation, shows all the signs of decadence,’ wrote the secretary-general of the Ligue d’action française, Anatole Vanier, in 1922. An influential nationalist who practised law in Montreal, Vanier believed that ‘irreligion, moral corruption, the destruction of the family through divorce, lynching, the internal divisions between whites and blacks and between capitalists and workers, the absolutism of the plutocracy, the awakening of the non-Anglo-Saxon races [and] the too great expanse of territory,’ would ultimately destroy the American republic.¹ America’s degeneracy and eventual collapse was not an uncommon theme in conservative commentary. At heart, like all...

  15. Appendix: Corpus
    (pp. 219-250)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 251-298)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 299-312)
  18. Index
    (pp. 313-322)