Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine And Robert Baldwin

Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine And Robert Baldwin

Book - 2010
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Canada has no better interpreter than prolific writer and thinker John Ralston Saul. Here he argues that Canada did not begin in 1867; indeed, its foundation was laid by two visionary men, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. The two leaders of Lower and Upper Canada, respectively, worked together after the 1841 Union to lead a reformist movement for responsible government run by elected citizens instead of a colonial governor.

But it was during the 'Great Ministry' of 1848 - 51 that the two politicians implemented laws that created a more equitable country. They revamped judicial institutions, created a public education system, made bilingualism official, designed a network of public roads, began a public postal system, and reformed municipal governance. Faced with opposition, and even violence, the two men - polar opposites in temperament - united behind a set of principles and programs that formed modern Canada. Writing with verve and deep conviction, Saul restores these two extraordinary Canadians to rightful prominence.

Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Group (Canada), c2010.
ISBN: 9780670067329


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Aug 25, 2013

The author’s clear enthusiasm for his subject, his style (opening the story with the most critical event of the narrative), and his character development (primarily LaFontaine,Baldwin,but also the Governor Generals, Papineau, Hincks etc.) all combine to produce an informative picture that also conveys the excitement and epic proportions (with ‘heroes and villains’/ ‘ethical’ vs ‘self-interested’).

I found the author's interpretations of history created a persuasive argument of the importance of these two men who, by working together to provide a ‘quietly’ visionary leadership, were instrumental in created the foundations and framework for the broad-based, modern democracy that Canadians can be both proud of and thankful for.

Although Baldwin, LaFontaine and the burning of the Parliament Buildings are always highlighted in Canadian history books, I can’t remember ever reading such an evocative rendering of their significance - I'll be on the look-out for the historic sites when next strolling through old Montreal.

Mar 09, 2012

This should be a must read for anyone interested in Canadian History and how we became Canadians. Two largely unknown Canadian Politicians who established the Democratic Foundation that John A. MacDonald built and the Fathers of Confederation built on.

Sep 25, 2011

an important book on a little-known era of pre-Confederation Canadian history.

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