Canada is the closest country to the United States. The two share several border cities, and in some places such as Detroit and Windsor, the distance is less than 10 minutes. The proximity between the two countries is enough reason to wonder why they aren’t just one. So, why is Canada not part of the USA?
Canada isn’t part of the USA due to historical reasons traceable to the American Revolution and the subsequent Treaty of Paris in 1783. Canadians didn’t join this revolution because of the difference in loyalty and cultural heritage, American failed invasion, the Quebec Act, and Military presence.
Despite not being part of the US, the two countries have very strong bilateral relations. This only came after failed attempts by the US to annex Canada. Today, traveling to the 49th state of the US, Alaska, even involves passing through Canada. This article discusses why Canada isn’t part of the United States of America.
Why Canada Didn’t Join the American Revolution
There were up to 23 British-controlled colonies in America in 1775 when thirteen American colonies rebelled against British rule. 4 of those colonies – Nova Scotia, Quebec, Newfoundland, and the Prince Edward Islands – are part of what is now known as Canada. However, these colonies, in particular, Nova Scotia and Quebec, didn’t join the revolution.
Nova Scotia was one of the key American colonies controlled by Great Britain at this point. Nova Scotia couldn’t join the revolution for several reasons, such as
1. Deportation of Acadians
Nova Scotia used to be part of the French Colony of Acadia before the British took control. During the French and Indian War, Britain feared that the French-speaking Acadians might support the French. They, therefore, asked them to swear allegiance to the United Kingdom. Those who refused to were deported. With about 6,000 to 10,000 Acadians deported, most of those left were loyalists to the British, which meant they could not join the anti-British American forces. Things might have been different if they remained, especially after France and the USA became allies during the war.
2. The Difference in Cultural Perspectives
Many of the new settlers that replaced the Acadians also had different beliefs and perspectives from the New Englanders. Most of the settlers were indebted to the British and grateful for being allowed to settle in Nova Scotia, so they weren’t thinking of rebelling against the rule. Beyond that, many British loyalists who had to evacuate the 13 colonies settled in Nova Scotia. For instance, when Boston fell, the military transported many of the loyalists to Nova Scotia. This further reinforced the loyalty of Nova Scotians and prevented them from joining the rebel colonies.
3. Military Presence
Another reason for Nova Scotia not joining the other 13 colonies is the military presence in the colony. There was a naval base in Halifax, which meant that they could easily quash any rebellion. Beyond discouraging rebellion, the naval base also increased economic vitality in the colony as it created a demand for agricultural products in the area.
Quebec was the largest Canadian colony at that time and had the most people. It was mostly French-dominated, and in previous wars between France and Britain, it has always fought against the British. However, it didn’t join the American revolution due to the following reasons.
1. 1774 Quebec Act
This Act, which was passed a few years before the revolution, granted the French Catholics majority in Quebec the right to practice their religion and collect tithes for the Catholic Church. Large landowners could also retain their authority over peasants. In exchange for all these, they had pledged allegiance to Britain and the British-appointed governor. The governor could also choose members of the local aristocracy as officials.
Under this Act, the French civil law remained in force, and every other aspect of living didn’t change significantly. Thus, Quebecians were open to maintaining the status quo.
The Act also extended the colony’s boundaries to the Ohio River on the south and the Mississippi River on the West. Thus, if the Quebec colony joined the American Revolution, it would mean losing the new part of the territories to the American colonies claiming it.
2. American Failed Invasion
The Americans invaded Quebec in 1775 as part of a liberation campaign. Although they had a short victory when they temporarily controlled Montreal, they couldn’t maintain it against the British reinforcements and suffered defeat in the end.
3. Difference in Heritage
While most of French Quebec were Catholics, most American revolution leaders were Protestants from New England. This raised suspicions about the cause for independence as such independence might threaten their religion. Moreover, French Catholics in Quebec mostly saw new Englanders as enemies due to the long history of enmity between them from the France and Britain wars.
Beyond that, French Quebec didn’t have the heritage of self-governance that the 13 colonies enjoyed. Before 1763, British colonies enjoyed a significant amount of self-governance while the French colonies didn’t. Thus, Quebec was more used to being under the authority of a monarch.
The Treaty of Paris
On 3 September 1783, the United States of America and the Kingdom of Great Britain signed a treaty in Paris that ended the American revolution. With this treaty, the United States became a sovereign state. Before this treaty was signed, the USA requested that Canada join them, but Canada turned down the invitation, choosing to remain a colony of Britain. This treaty recognized the 13 American colonies, among other issues necessary to ensure the sovereignty of the US.
The War of 1812
The final attempt of the United States to annex Canada as part of it came in 1812. The war was essentially against Britain, but since the British Empire controlled Canada, Americans decided to capture the Dominion of Canada. The US erroneously believed that Canadians would welcome the invasion, but this proved very wrong in the end. Thus, the war was a complete failure for the United States and marked the end of any attempt to annex Canada as part of the US.
The United States and Canada share the longest international border in the world. While the two countries have a chequered history, relations between them are one of the best today. Both countries depend largely on each other, especially when it comes to economic interests.