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How Agriculture Made Canada: Farming in the Nineteenth Century

An original and textured analysis of how agricultural developments in Quebec and Ontario had a significant and direct impact on rural settlement in the Prairies.

Series: Rural, Wildland, and Resource Studies Series Volume: 1

By: Peter A Russell (Author)

312 pages, 20 tables

McGill-Queens University Press

Paperback | Nov 2012 | #214096 | ISBN-13: 9780773540651
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £22.99 $28/€26 approx
Hardback | Nov 2012 | #214097 | ISBN-13: 9780773540644
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £74.99 $92/€84 approx

About this book

Nineteenth-century farm families needed land for the next generation. Their quest shaped agricultural settlement across Canada. This overview of rural history in Quebec, Ontario, and the Prairies provides a new perspective on the ways in which agriculture and the family farm were central to the country's expansion and essential to understanding social, political, and economic changes. How Agriculture Made Canada shows how differences between the agricultural development of Quebec and that of Ontario had a decisive influence on the settlement of the Prairies.

Peter Russell demonstrates that farming families eventually ran out of land against the edges of the St Lawrence lowlands. While Quebec-based Habitants reached their region's limits earlier, Ontario encouraged people to migrate west. Russell argues that the thousands of relocated Ontario farmers changed Manitoba's bilingual openness to an exclusively English-speaking province that then assimilated East European arrivals. Thus, if not for the agricultural crises in the Canadas, Manitoba might have been at least as francophone as anglophone. The first comprehensive synthesis on the history of Canadian farming in decades, How Agriculture Made Canada reveals the lasting impact that nineteenth-century agricultural changes have had on the nation.


Acknowledgments vii
Abbreviations ix

Introduction: Agricultural Crises in the Canadas in the Nineteenth
Century 3
1 Farm Families and Markets - Peasants, Pioneers, and Profit
Maximizers 12
2 Quebec: An Agricultural Crisis and Its Critics 36
3 Comparisons of Agriculture in Nineteenth-Century Quebec and
Ontario 82
4 The Staples Thesis Expounded, Critiqued, and Modified 96
5 Gagan and the “Critical Years” in Canada West: A Second
Agricultural Crisis? 142
6 Land-Hungry Nationalisms on the Prairies 168
7 Railways and Homesteading on the Prairies: Sharing the Public
Lands 190
8 Native Farming on the Prairies 209
9 Prairie Agriculture’s Historiographic Debates 229

Conclusion: What Historiographic Debates Can Tell Us 277
Notes 287
Other Sources Used 365
Index 385

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Peter A. Russell is associate professor of history at UBC Okanagan and the author of Attitudes to Social Structure and Mobility in Upper Canada: "Here We are Laird Ourselves".

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