Nathan Ince

Canadian leaders today would certainly refer to the United States as one of their most important allies. But anti-American sentiment in Canada has a long history. This paper examines the evolution of anti-Americanism in Canada from 1812 to 1891, and puts forward the argument that the origins of Canadian anti-Americanism has its roots as a survival mechanism, used by Canadians as an idea to rally behind when facing threats, both economic and militarily, from a much larger and powerful republic to the south. Whether it was during the war of 1812, or the Fenian raids decades later, anti-American sentiment among Canadians was an expression of Canada’s desire to remain independent from the United States when facing threats, real or perceived, to its sovereignty. As a young country, lacking a true national consciousness, anti-Americanism was also used to remedy this, differentiating what it was to be a Canadian from American. The anti-American sentiment from this period raises important questions for the present.

Les politiciens canadiens d’aujourd’hui font souvent référence aux Américains comme à leurs alliés les plus importants. Pourtant, des sentiments anti-américains ont une longue histoire au Canada. Cet article analyse l’évolution de ce sentiment entre 1812 et 1891, et soutien que l’anti-américanisme canadien a ses origines dans un mécanisme de survivance. Que ce soit pendant la guerre de 1812 ou les raids Fenians, l’anti-américanisme a toujours été une façon d’exprimer le désir du Canada de rester indépendant des États-Unis face aux menaces, perçues ou réelles, en regard de sa souveraineté. Dans un pays jeune sans conscience nationale développée, l’anti-américanisme a permis aux Canadiens de se différencier à défaut de se définir. L’anti-américanisme de cette période soulève plusieurs questions encore importantes dans notre monde contemporain.

Nathan Ince was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1991. After graduating from high school in 2009, he lived a year in Sweden, where he spent his time studying, travelling, and learning the language. He is currently studying political science and history at Carleton University. When not reading or writing, Nathan spends much of his time playing guitar.


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