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THE DURHAM REPORT

John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham, was appointed in January 1838 to investigate the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada. His report was met with scorn and anger from many, but was welcomed by Upper Canada reformers. Document Summary: Charged with finding the roots of the unrest that had led to the uprisings in Lower Canada, Durham states that he expected to find that the problem lay between those who sought free government and those in the executive protecting their own authority. What he found instead was "two nations warring in the bosom of a single state a struggle, not of principles, but of races." Most of the blame for this he attributed to French Canadians. Durham referred to French Canadians as backward and illiterate.

Argues that irresponsible leaders easily manipulate them. The English minority, in contrast, is practical and interested in improving the province.

In Upper Canada, Durham blamed the Constitutional Act, 1791 (see pp.119,120 in your CR text), which gave too much power to the lieutenant-governor and his appointed advisors.

Blamed the lieutenant-governor, Sir Francis Bond Head, for resisting political advance and favouring the Family Compact.

In his conclusion and recommendations, he warns that if government does not change, Canadians might turn to the United States for a solution. He then makes several key recommendations:

The colonies should have control over their internal affairs (although he severely restricted the kind of legislation this could include). The Colonial Office should retain control of many areas including "the constitution of the form of government, the regulation of foreign relations and trade and the disposal of the public lands." There must be responsible government, with a proper cabinet system as in Britain. Responsible government should only be given to an English-speaking majority (as he does not believe that French Canadians are ready). A program of education to make French Canadians more progressive. In order to assimilate French Canadians, there should be a union of the Canadas with the possibility of including the other British North American Colonies later. By uniting the two Canadas, the English would become dominant and the French Canadians would become a minority. He thought that French Canadians, whom he described as a people "without history and without literature", would gradually abandon their identity.

The Durham Report Statement Defense

You and your partner are History Detectivesyour assignment is to read the 1838 Durham Report document summary on the reverse (Ill bet youre glad you dont have to read all 141 pages of the original text). You should try to read between the lines as mush as what his Lordship stated in his document. You and your partner must write a multiple paragraph report of your own in response to Lord Durhams famous document. In your case, you are asked to defend the following statement:

The Durham Report was a racist document that has had a lasting effect on the country of Canada.

Why is this true? Use examples to support your defense. Feel free to consult your text. Your assignment must be completed by the end of class today!