Newfoundland's National Convention, 1946-48

Webb, Jeff A. (1987) Newfoundland's National Convention, 1946-48. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

On 11 December 1945 the British government announced that a representative body of Newfoundlanders would be elected to debate Newfoundland's political future, and make recommendations as to the constitutional options that would be placed before the people in a national referendum. This National Convention sat between September 1946 and January 1948. It prepared reports on aspects of the Newfoundland economy and society, and debated various constitutional options. Shortly after the Convention assembled it split into two factions on the confederation issue, and the investigative role was subsumed by partisan fighting. The responsible government faction sent a delegation to London in an attempt to ensure continued British aid under responsible government. The confederates, for their part, sent a delegation to Ottawa, and succeeded in negotiating terms of union. When the Convention met in the fall of 1947 the responsible government faction made their case based upon the Convention's finance committee report. The confederates based their case upon the data obtained in Ottawa, and took advantage of the broadcast of the proceedings to publicize the advantages of union. Eventually the Convention recommended two options, responsible government and commission government, be placed on the ballot. The British rejected this recommendation, and included confederation as an option. -- On the basis of this rejection many historians have concluded that the Convention had little importance beyond giving J.R. Smallwood a platform from which to popularize confederation. This thesis demonstrate that the National Convention had a crucial role in heightening awareness of the constitutional options, and influenced the outcome of the referendum. In fact, the Convention made confederation an option, and popularized it. As such, it was an indispensable part of the confederation debate, without which Canadian and British plans would have come to nought.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5542
Item ID: 5542
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 152-158.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1987
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Newfoundland. National Convention, 1946-1948; Newfoundland and Labrador--Politics and government--1934-1949

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