History Research Is So Much Fun


This is the first installment of a series of blogs which will start with: Could you Believe this???

I have completed the Lesson Outlines for Module 1 of our online program. To view our Lesson Plans, Click Here 

In preparation for teaching about Our Fathers of Confederation, I am doing some of my research online using links to the Archives of Canada, Wikipedia and The Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I also have many old history books on my desk to which I refer.

All of the sites listed above give links to original source documents, which I will explore further for veracity. Some sites give an assessment of the biography of the characters from one perspective, while others give a different perspective. (Like the old poem – The Six Blind Men of Hindustan)

With these points of view, it is fairly easy to form a more objective perspective of our characters. It is my sincere hope that other students will take up the challenge to join in this research and do their own original source digging. Feel free to send me corrections. I will definitely add them to our blog pages.

Could you Believe this???

So I am reading about Sir George Etienne Cartier, (one of our Fathers of Confederation),  and the part he played in the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837. Here’s what wikipedia says of Robert Nelson, one of the leaders of the insurrection.


“In 1827, Robert Nelson entered politics at the invitation of his brother, Wolfred Nelson, also a doctor and member of the Parti Patriote.

On November 24, 1837, Nelson was arrested with other politicians. He was freed soon after, not being involved with the rebels, unlike his brother, Wolfred, who participated in the Battle of Saint-Denis. His arrest, however, led him to join with the rebels who fled to the United States.

The leaders of the Patriotes voted for the quick establishment of a provisional government and the launch of an attack from the United States. Some important Patriotes voted against this idea, including Louis-Joseph Papineau.

Robert Nelson was made General of the army and elected future President of the Republic of Lower Canada.

On February 28, 1838, Nelson encamped at Alburg, Vermont with some 300 men. He proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Lower Canada and distributed copies of a declaration of independence. Soon after, they were arrested by the U.S. Army for violation of the law of neutrality of the United States. A jury, sympathetic to the Patriotes cause, acquitted him and others.

After this failed attempt, Robert Nelson and other insurrectionists decided to take the time to organize a new strike. A clandestine paramilitary association, known as the Frères chasseurs, was set up to overthrow the British colonial governments of Lower and Upper Canada and establish sovereign and democratic republics in their place. A second invasion started on November 3, 1838. Things didn’t go as planned and the invasion forces were forced to retreat.”

Oh well… we lost our opportunity to become the Republic of Canada!!! I think this is a curiously funny part of our history. I am sure I will find other stories which I will be sharing with you.



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