My Teaching This Week

27 01 2010

HIST 1407: Canadian History Since 1867

I devoted two lectures to the First World War. Monday’s lecture focused more on events overseas (European diplomacy, alliances, living conditions in the trenches, key battles), while the lecture on Wednesday was mainly about events in Canada (the politics of war, conscription, Regulation 17, war production, profiteering, income tax, railway nationalization).

Teaching about the First World War is a treat because it allows me to use fantastic images from the LAC collection as part of my Powerpoint. Here are some examples of the images I used.

German and Canadian Soldiers Working Together to Remove Wounded From Vimy Ridge

Here is another good image, taken on the same day:

Wounded at Vimy

Munitions Factory

Consider this photo of a woman participating in the war economy:

Or this great photo:

Anti-Conscription Protest, Victoria Square, Montreal, 1917

I was also able to show lots of great war time propaganda posters. The LAC some great items in their collection, including:




4th Year Seminar on British North America and the Age of Confederation

Our focus this week was on BNA reactions to the Civil War. Our readings  were: S.F. Wise, “The Annexation Movement and Its Effect on Canadian Opinion, 1837-67” in Canada views the United States : nineteenth-century political attitudes, edited  by S.F. Wise and Robert Craig Brown (Seattle : University of Washington Press, 1967); Robin Winks, Canada and the United States: the Civil War Years (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins Press, 1960), chp. 2, 3. We also listened to two excellent student presentations on the lives of Sir Charles Hastings Doyle and Garnet Joseph Wolseley.


In seminar, I had my students take 15 minutes to read two primary sources.

The first was Lincoln’s famous 1862 letter to the New York Tribune newspaper.


Source: The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, vol. 5, “Letter to Horace Greeley” (August 22, 1862), p. 388.

“Executive Mansion,
Washington, August 22, 1862.
Hon. Horace Greeley:
Dear Sir.
I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.
A. Lincoln.”

I then had the students read an editorial about Lincoln’s letter to Greeley that appeared in the Toronto Globe, 28 August 1862.

This generated a good discussion of Canadian attitudes to the Civil War.



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