A political history of Newfoundland, 1865-1874

MacWhirter, W. David (1963) A political history of Newfoundland, 1865-1874. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In the politics of Newfoundland, during the first ten years of Responsible Government (1855-1865), sectarianism played a very important role. From 1865 to 1869, however, during F.B.T. Carter’s first Administration, this role was lessened. Carter included Roman Catholics in his Executive Council and, with the development of the Confederation issue, sectarianism was relegated to a position of relative insignificance. In 1869, Charles Fox Bennett led his Anti-Confederate Party to an overwhelming victory at the polls. The Anti-Confederates won the election by playing on the fears of the electorate - fears of increased taxation, of military conscription, and of the loss of independence. As the result of a vigorous and exhaustive campaign, the Anti-Confederates won seventy per cent of the seats in the House of Assembly. Many of these members were inexperienced, however, and most of the leaders represented Roman Catholic Districts. -- Gradually the Confederates, realizing the impossibility at that time of effecting a union with Canada, turned again to sectarianism. Bennett’s Party, although it tried, was unable to quell the growing demand for a Protestant Government. In an attempt to divide the Protestants, Bennett condemned the Orange Society as undesirable. This was a miscalculation. Little if any, support was gained and the Orangemen were further alienated. The Government, which was often ineffective, stagnated. It was involved in a dispute with the New York, Newfoundland, London Telegraphy Company and it Act giving effect to the Washington Treaty was disallowed. In addition to these problems, rumor of misappropriations of public funds became prevalent. -- In the election of 1873, Bennett was returned to power with a majority of only three. Notwithstanding this, before the House of Assembly met, two members of the Government Party withdrew from the house and one member joined the Opposition. Bennett’s Government resigned and Carter came to power. In the election of 1874, the Protestant districts supported Carter’s Party and the Roman Catholic Districts supported Bennett. Sectarianism was again as important as it had been before Carter had come to power in 1865. Politics in Newfoundland had come full cycle.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10958
Item ID: 10958
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves [235]-245.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1963
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Newfoundland and Labrador--History--1855-1934; Newfoundland and Labrador--Politics and government--1855-1934;

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