Act of Union 1840

The Act of Union (3 & 4 Vict. c. 35) passed in July 1840 and proclaimed February 10, 1841, abolished the legislatures of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and established a new political entity, the Province of Canada to replace them. This act effecting the political union of The Canadas was similar in nature and in goals to the other Acts of Union enacted by the British Parliament.


s that had benefited the port of Montreal, the government of Upper Canada had a budget shortfall and was deeply in debt. It was hoped its finances could be salvaged by merging it with the still-solvent Lower Canada.

It was also hoped that by merging the rapidly growing anglophone Upper Canada with the slowly growing francophone Lower Canada the French cultural presence in North America would disappear gradually. Thus the act also contained measures banning the French language from official use in the Legislative Assembly.

The new, merged colony was named the Province of Canada, with Upper Canada known unofficially as Canada West and Lower Canada as Canada East. Canada West, with its 450,000 inhabitants, was represented by 42 seats in the Parliament's legislative assembly, the same number as the more-populated Canada East, with 650,000 inhabitants. The francophone majority as well as numerous anglophones considered this an injustice. In Lower Canada, Louis-Joseph Papineau demanded representation by population and the recall of the Union the minute he entered the new Parliament of United Canada.

government many of the more-unfair restrictions were removed.

By the late 1850s, massive immigration from the British Isles to Canada West changed the previous demographic imbalance between the English and French sections of the colony. Many politicians in Canada West began to lobby for Rep-by-Pop as they no longer considered the equal representation mandated by the Act of Union to be just.

At last, the Act of Union failed at shutting down Francophones' political influence, especially after responsible government was granted to the colony. By voting "en bloc" while the Anglophones of Canada West were highly factionalized, the Francophones of Canada East guaranteed a strong, unified French Canadian presence in the legislative assembly. However, their presence remained inferior to their demographic weight in the executive and legislative councils. The government of Lafontaine-Baldwin succeeded in repealing the measure against the French language in the Assembly, in the courts, and in the civil administration. With the double majority principle, West and East Canada were so to speak "reseparated" and for a short while, both sides were managed independently. Joint premierships shared by an Anglophone from Canada West and a Francophone from Canada East became the rule, but did not prevent continual legislative deadlock resulting from the conflicting aspirations of the two Canadas. Dissatisfaction resulting from this deadlock was the chief factor leading to Canadian Confederation in 1867.

See also

*Acts of Union of the British Empire
*Constitutional history of Canada
*History of Quebec
*Lower Canada Rebellion
*Durham Report
*Quebec nationalism
*History of Canada

External links

* [ Full text of the act]
* [ Canadian Encyclopedia - Act of Union]
* [ Canada in the Making, 1839 - 1849: Union and Responsible Government]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Act of Union — may be an act that refers to:In the United Kingdom: * Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, passed by the Parliament of England, annexing Wales to the Kingdom of England are sometimes known as the Acts of Union . *Act of Union 1652‎, (more commonly known …   Wikipedia

  • Act of Union — steht für: Act of Union 1536 1542, ein überholter Sprachgebrauch für die Einbeziehung von Wales in den Rechtsraum von England Act of Union 1707, eine gesetzliche Vereinbarung zwischen England und Schottland Act of Union 1800, eine gesetzliche… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Acte D'Union (1840) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Acte d Union. L Acte d Union, 1840 est une loi adoptée par le Parlement du Royaume Uni en juin 1840 et publiée le 23 juillet 1840[1] The Union Act, 1840, An Act to reunite the Provinces of Upper and… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Acte d'Union (1840) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Acte d Union. L Acte d Union, 1840 est une constitution adoptée par le Parlement du Royaume Uni en juin 1840 et publiée le 23 juillet 1840[1] The Union Act, 1840, An Act to reunite the Provinces of… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Acta de Unión (1840) — La Ley de Unión o Acta de Unión (en inglés: Act of Union, en francés: Acte d Union) aprobada en julio de 1840 y proclamada el 10 de febrero de 1841, abolía las legislaturas del Alto Canadá y del Bajo Canadá y estableció una nueva entidad política …   Wikipedia Español

  • Union of Upper and Lower Canada — The 1841 union of Upper Canada and Lower Canada created the Province of Canada. This province lasted until 1867 when Canadian Confederation encouraged the two groups to split again into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec History Upper… …   Wikipedia

  • 1840 en droit — Chronologie en droit <= 1840 1841 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 1849 1850 1851 1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858 1859 => Janvier | Février | Mars | Avril | Mai | Juin | Juillet | Août | Septembre | Octobre | …   Wikipédia en Français

  • 1840 in Canada — See also: 1839 in Canada, other events of 1840, 1841 in Canada and the list of years in Canada . Events* May 6 Postage stamps come into use. * June 10 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are shot at. * June 28 Queen Victoria is crowned. * July 23… …   Wikipedia

  • 1840 in the United Kingdom — Events from the year 1840 in the United Kingdom.Incumbents*Monarch Victoria of the United Kingdom *Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, Whig Events* 10 January Uniform Penny Post introduced. * 22 January British colonists reach… …   Wikipedia

  • 1840 — This article is about the year 1840. Millennium: 2nd millennium Centuries: 18th century – 19th century – 20th century Decades: 1810s  1820s  1830s  – 1840s –  1850s  186 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.