The Struggle of 1885 Essay

The Struggle of 1885 Essay

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It is illogical to attempt to ‘reap’ what you do not ‘sow.’ However, from 1870 to 1885, many Canadians thought this was a legitimate frame of mind in handling affairs with groups in the North-West. Their selfishness, to them, was sanctified. Sanctified because a push for the formation of Canada overshadowed and overruled each stage in a long, unfriendly struggle. In his article, “Causes of the 1885 Struggle,” Howard clarifies that giving the label, “Riel rebellion,” to these struggles, is a misleading and inappropriate title. He states that Riel was not alone in the unravelling of the events that took place in 1885. From this, Howard identifies the 1885 “hostilities” as a class manifested turning-point in Canada’s movement politically and socially: towards capitalism, modern agriculture and industrialism.
In the 1870s, aside from Manitoba, the remainder of the North-West was wholly without any form of government. This meant that nominal control was in the hands of Manitoba’s lieutenant-governor until 1873: after-which he was given an appointed council to help out. One of the most notable actions made by the lieutenant-governor, and his council in 1873 was the creation of the NWMP (North-West Mounted Police). It was not until after the North-West Territories act of 1875 that the North-West Territories received their own, exclusive, lieutenant-governor. Still, without their own judicial and police force, primary power laid in the hands of Ottawa: who had the ability to disallow any locally driven ordinances. The Metis people remained relatively independent and politically involved, organizing their own local government by 1875, despite the pseudo-federal administration imposed on the North-West. However, it was all grou...


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...atens others and encourages them to engage in similar tactics.
Overall Howard deserves to be commended for his political approach to the struggles of 1885. His opinion of the class structure present and its importance in the developmental process of Canada’s political framework lends much insight to any reader willing to give it more than a moments thought. This article fits extremely well with class as it puts emphasis on the united quality among North-West groups, as well as the necessity to shed light on the Metis as a whole, not exclusively Riel. Personally I really enjoyed this article. I did not necessarily agree with the lens Howard was attempting to capture everything in, but the element of political theory that Howard brought to the table, for me, is always worthy of analysis: especially if you connect to a different theory that you can compare it to.

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