Canada - An American Nation?

Canada - An American Nation?: Essays on Continentalism, Identity, and the Canadian Frame of Mind

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    Canada - An American Nation?
    Book Description:

    Are Canadians so influenced by the United States that they lack a distinct identity? This question has preoccupied Canadians and Canadianists for years. Canada - An American Nation? is a compilation of Allan Smith's essays on the influence of American society on Canadian identity. Based on the notion that Canada can best be understood if viewed in relation to the United States, the book explores the ways in which American influences have challenged Canada's cultural independence and asks whether Canada has maintained its own identity.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6498-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. 1 Introduction: The Canadian Mind Continental Perspective
    (pp. 3-22)

    Over the years a number of factors - changing ideological fashion, altering conceptions of the community's interest, a need to accommodate new social and economic realities, the sharp and agonized thrust towards self-examination precipitated by such crises as the failure of Meech Lake - have compelled historians, politicians, and observers of Canadian life to assemble the elements which they believe constitute that life in a constantly shifting array of patterns and designs. This display has sometimes involved making those elements coalesce in the form of an essentially British community dedicated to the preservation of monarchy and Parliament on the North American continent;¹...

    • 2 American Culture and the Concept of Mission Nineteenth-Century English Canada
      (pp. 25-39)

      A society’s sense of mission rests upon the belief that it has been charged by God or history with the performance of some great task. Islamic civilization saw itself chosen by God as the instrument by which His plans for mankind, revealed to the prophet Mohammed, would be realized throughout the world. Its violent encounters with the people of Africa, Europe, and the East became triumphal stages in the greatjihadAllah required it to prosecute. “As for their victories and their battles,” wrote the writer ofAl Fakhriin satisfied contemplation of the wonders wrought by the Prophet’s followers,...

    • 3 The Continental Dimension in the Evolution of the English-Canadian Mind
      (pp. 40-64)

      Of those societies which have felt the cultural, economic, and military might of the American republic over the past two hundred years, Canada was the earliest and remains the most profoundly affected. There is still, of course, a good deal of disagreement about the implications of the American economic presence in Canada. Canadians also continue to be divided over their country’s capacity to devise foreign and defence policies truly independent of the United States. Government action over the past fifteen years suggests, however, the existence of a policy-makers’ consensus in support of the view that the American influence on Canada’s...

    • 4 Samuel Moffett and the Americanization of Canada
      (pp. 65-87)

      The new world had a profound impact on the quality of European life and the shape of European thought. To some observers it was a raw and barbarous place requiring the civilizing hand of the European; others pronounced it virgin and unspoiled, a land of purity, youth, and innocence, where humans might be remade. All, however, were very nearly mesmerized by it. From the Halls of Montezuma to the Kingdom of the Saguenay it seemed a fabulous place, its treasure and potential far exceeding anything to be found in the world they knew.

      In time many commentators found its incredible...

    • 5 Canadian Culture, the Canadian State, and the Management of the New Continentalism
      (pp. 88-124)

      One of the most striking phenomena in contemporary North American life has been the greatly accelerated thrust toward fine-tuning and adjustment of important elements in the Canadian-American relationship. This push in the direction of a more ordered and rational continentalism, evident enough in such areas as pollution control and the handling of toxic wastes, has been most dramatic in the domain of economic affairs. The move toward regulation, procedure, and discipline so clearly manifest in the negotiation and signing of the 1989 free trade agreement has not, to be sure, yet yielded the frictionless functioning of the world’s largest trade...

    • 6 Metaphor and Nationality in North America
      (pp. 127-158)

      The nationalist uses language to define the nation’s character and experience in a way that will provide a rationale for its continued existence. Lacking such a rationale and the mental picture of itself which that rationale helps to provide, no society can stay together. Language thus becomes an instrument to be employed in the fashioning of a nationalist ideology which itself becomes a tool designed for a particular purpose, the integrating of the human elements in a given geographical area into a coherent, self-conscious whole. In the course of fulfilling that purpose, nationalist ideology, like ideologies generally, often does violence...

    • 7 National Images and National Maintenance: The Ascendancy of the Ethnic Idea in North America
      (pp. 159-194)

      As the Italian nationalist Massimo D’azeglio noted more than a century ago - “Italy is made; now we must make Italians”¹ - the formation of a state is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of nation-building. The engineers of all polities - whether they be the classical nation-states of Europe, the largely immigrant-based societies of the western hemisphere, or the new national communities of the Third World - must move beyond the business of state-structuring if they are to give the people over whose affairs the entity they are creating will preside reason for identifying themselves with it.


    • 8 First Nations, Race, and the Pluralist Idea: Canada and the United States in the Post-Modern Age
      (pp. 195-250)

      Much attention continues to be given to the role which management of linguistic and ethnic tension must play in the stabilization of life in the world’s increasingly heterogeneous national systems.¹ Recent developments in many parts of the globe have, however, powerfully reinforced the truth that resolution and containment of racial strife is no less central to movement towards that important goal.² The new phase of conflict and rapprochement in South Africa,³ growing aboriginal consciousness in Australasia⁴ and Scandinavia,⁵ and the stresses produced by the presence of Turkish, North African, and East Indian workers and immigrants in the classical nation states...

    • 9 OLd Ontario and the Emergence of a National Frame of Mind
      (pp. 253-280)

      That Ontario played a leading role in promoting the national idea in post-Confederation Canada is well known. Canada First drew most of its members from that province, much of the literature which attempted to delineate the character of the new nation was produced there, and the principal Canadian support for such agencies as the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Canadian Academy was provided by its inhabitants. If, however, the fact that the national idea after 1867 was largely Ontario-created is hardly new, less widely broadcast has been the circumstance that as early as the 1820s Upper Canadians had...

    • 10 Defining British Columbia
      (pp. 281-314)

      Few collections of historical literature demonstrate more clearly than the works produced by British Columbia’s historians the truth of the proposition that historians’ visions of the past result from a complex process of interaction involving their own intelligence, the changing character of the reality they contemplate and the conceptual lens through which they view it. Each of the three main divisions into which historical writing about British Columbia falls must, in consequence, be defined not only in terms of the structure given it by the varying phenomena of which the historians producing it found it necessary to take account but...

    • 11 The Ideology of Regionalism: The West against Ottawa in the 1970s
      (pp. 315-324)

      For decades one set of interest groups - that based largely in populous, wealthy Ontario - has been able to exercise a profound influence on the way Canada has been run. In the absence of serious rivals in other parts of the country, these centre-based business people, politicians, and bureaucrats were able to shape an economic and constitutional system clearly reflecting their understanding of how the nation should operate. What was more - and this was no small factor in their success - they were able to place their opposite numbers in the different regions and provinces very much on...

    • 12 The Myth of the Self-made Man in English Canada, 1850—1914
      (pp. 325-358)

      Recent scholarship concerning society and values in English Canada has placed much emphasis on the extent to which their evolution demonstrates a continuing Canadian attachment to conservative principle. Strongly concerned to establish the ways in which the Canadian nation may be distinguished from the American, scholars have drawn particular attention to the role played in its growth by deference, a belief in the rights of the community over those of the individual, and a sense that the collective experience of those who compose it gives society its substance and texture. The Canadian mind, they argue, has been characterized not so...

    • 13 Conservatism, Nationalism, and Imperialism: The Thought of George Monro Grant
      (pp. 359-390)

      George Monro Grant, clergyman, educator, patriot, and controversialist, was one of the most active of the small group of intellectuals who, in the last years of the nineteenth century, strove to give direction and content to life in the new Canadian nation.¹ The result, embodied in a steady stream of books, articles, essays, and lectures, was a vision of nationality, and the imperial future action in conformity with which, Grant firmly believed, would set Canadians on the path to greatness and salvation in the present and for generations to come. To examine the contours of that vision is, then, to...

  7. Index
    (pp. 391-398)