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.
Introduction: Agricultural Crises in the Canadas in the Nineteenth
1 Farm Families and Markets - Peasants, Pioneers, and Profit
2 Quebec: An Agricultural Crisis and Its Critics 36
3 Comparisons of Agriculture in Nineteenth-Century Quebec and
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
8 Native Farming on the Prairies 209
9 Prairie Agriculture’s Historiographic Debates 229
Conclusion: What Historiographic Debates Can Tell Us 277
Other Sources Used 365
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".