The world can certainly do better than this. Here's why.

Friday, March 18

Did Canada make the American Revolution happen?

In a word, yes.

In 1759, battles between English and French forces in territory known as New France, led General James Wolfe to the capture of Quebec from the French. This decisive victory, The Thin Red Line on the Plains of Abraham, effectively ended the Seven Years' War — known as the French and Indian War in North America. The name of this war is, properly, Guerre du Roi Louis XV or King George's II war. This victory by the English was not without the sacrifice of New Englanders. They, who'd conquered a continent from forest, "indians" (a dirty term), beast, and weather alike. With guns. Rugged Englishmen adventurers who braved the new continent. Their stories live forever in the hearts of Americans. Is Canada responsible for giving them the impetus for revolt and revolution?

In a word yes.

Are Canadians, then, responsible for anything that America does?

In a number, 20%.

The grievances with the Crown listed in an historic U.S. document number five. After the Boston Tea Party but before the revolution had started a letter was sent by The First Continental Congress. The Quebec Act, was the fifth of five, listed Intolerable Acts.

from "the Quebec Act" article on Wikipedia: 'The Quebec Act, while designed to placate one North American colony, had the opposite effect among the Americans to the south. The act was among the so called Intolerable Acts" that infuriated the American colonists, leading them to the armed insurrection of the American Revolution.'

The English won the French and Indian War in 1759. This war began in the colonies before the great powers themselves engaged in formal declarations against one another. The French and Indian war started in 1754, the Seven Years' War in 1756. For two years, New France and New England were at war in the woodlands of North America without official sanction from Mom and Dad. Only when the great powers took notice did the war end decisively. The conquest of Louisbourg on today's Cape Breton Island followed by the capture of Quebec city with a stroke of genius and guile on the part of General James Wolfe.

It was genius, guile, and weather that help General George Washington lead the colonists of New England against England in the Revolutionary War. General Washington would go on the become the first President of the United States in 1789. Not bad for a one-time Lieutenant-Colonel, regarded an assassin as he was defeated by French forces in the — aptly named — Battle at Fort Necessity in July 1754. No wonder Americans hate the French.

Comparing histories, I would have to say that American history got this one wrong. The French began exploring with their allies the Algonquin for 100 years before any claims to Ohio Country could have been made by English surveyors. In 1699, a French officer founded the first permanent settlement in Louisiana near Biloxi, Mississippi. New Orleans was a "seat of civilian and military authority" by 1722. Ohio, upriver from these places, had run a steady stream of connections to Louisiana. They are now called the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Any claim from the East, New England, in 1753 was bogus. It's no coincidence, then, that one Major George Washington was there to lay that claim, too.

1753 — Lieutenant Colonel George Washington lays English claim to clearly held French Territory, helping initiate war. If things had gone differently, I'd say Washington was patsy.

1754 — On May 28, French Ensign Joseph Coulon de Villiers is slain while sitting at the side of Major George Washington. His brother, eight years older and the commanding officer at Fort Duquesne forces Washington to surrender at Fort Necessity. In his surrender on 3 July, Washington signs a document that admits his participation in an assassination. Of course, like most Americans, Washington could not read the document, it was in French.

1759 — The English win the American Theatre of the Seven Years' War. They wait four years for the war in Europe to end.
1763 — The Seven Years' War ends in Europe. England is victorious. War costs are heavy.
1774 — Taxes on the American colonies' wealth regarded distastefully by colonists. Like bad tea. To the North, the French who were vanquished by war are appeased by relaxation in the weight of home rule.
1776 — General George Washington crosses the Delaware and eventually wins the war.
1783 — The American Revolutionary War ends. America defeats Britain. Britain never really cared. The French helped the U.S. to win. Says Mel Gibson. (It's true! The French helped Washington to win against the British)
1789 — Washington becomes President of the new Republic.
1789 — The French Revolution begins.

1867 — Canada becomes its own country. Not a shot fired. A series of conversations and convictions established instead.
1982 — Canada's constitution is "patriated" and our version of Amendments or the Bill of Rights, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is enacted. 219 years after the British Conquered the French, the French took part in the peaceful birth of a mature country.

Many, in their lessons of history, do not remember that time passes between the great events of history. Days, months, years. A slow build of pushes and pulls making for interesting days. These past few weeks seeing the world reshape in front of us has been truly remarkable. People are being shaken awake from slumber.

We see interesting, literally Earth-shattering, days happening now. In North Africa. Near the Persian Sea. On the Coast of Japan. Its 2011. It's time to wake up.

2007 — The financial crisis materializes amid rising oil prices and a housing bubble.
2008 — America and Canada are still engaged in Afghanistan. The bubble pops.
2009 — The Iraq War. Hostilities the world over. The First Black President takes office.
2010 — Massive unemployment, widespread infrastructure failure, food crises, wildfires, floods, earthquakes (Haiti and Chile, specifically), the worst oil spill in human history.
2011 — It's only March. Ivory Coast, Haiti, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Sudan. All in revolt. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq. All bombed this year.

All of this imbalance must stop. Perhaps, by 2086, Canada will know what it wants.