Staking Claims to A Continent

Staking Claims to A Continent

John A. Macdonald, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and the Making of North America

Book - 2016
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A look at the actions of three political leaders who presided over the reshaping of North America during the 1860s: Jefferson Davis and his quest to create a country in the South of the United States by establishing the Confederate States of America; Abraham Lincoln and his crusade to save the Union; and John A. Macdonald and his drive to make the British North American provinces into a federal state that would keep the territory out of American hands.
Publisher: [Toronto] :, Anansi,, 2016
ISBN: 9781770894303
Characteristics: ix, 361 pages :,maps


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rb3221 Oct 08, 2016

I found Laxer's book to be a very good inquiry (especially for a novice historian like myself) into Canadian - USA relations during the Civil War and Canadian Confederation, both of which were occurring at the same time. Laxer makes the case that MacDonald's determined wish for a strong central government was highly influenced by the American Civil War which showed the defects and weaknesses of the American system (i.e. the powerful state powers over the weaker federal ones). Confederation, then, in Laxer, view "was very much a product of the political and economic forces of its time".
Lincoln's starting point as the war began was the preservation of the Union but changed after his re-election to become a Union without slavery. Jefferson Davies, President of the Confederate states wanted to create a new nation state. Even in 1776 these two separate "highly developed and increasingly antagonist" visions of nation were clearly evident but only one was destined to survive.

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