Markets for Rebellions? The Rebellions of 1837-38 in Lower Canada
31 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2018 Last revised: 14 Jul 2019
Date Written: August 20, 2018
In 1837-38, the British colonies of Upper and Lower Canada rebelled. The rebellion was most virulent in the latter of the two colonies. Historians have argued that economic consideration were marginal in explaining the causes of the rebellions. To make this claim, they argue that the areas that rebelled in Lower Canada were among the richest in the colony, and the least likely to be motivated by economic factors. In this paper, we use the census of 1831 and databases of rebellious events to question this claim. We argue that the rich areas were more prone to rebellion because they were where markets were most developed. These well-developed markets allowed for cheaper coordination of seditious elements while also increasing the wealth (i.e. the rent) over which to fight.
Keywords: Rebellions, Insurgency, Canadian Economic History, Quebec Economic History, Patriots, 1837 Rebellions
JEL Classification: N21, N41, D70, D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation