The government of St. John's, Newfoundland, 1888-1902

Baker, Melvin (1975) The government of St. John's, Newfoundland, 1888-1902. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Newfoundland, in the nineteenth century, had a highly centralized political system which was best reflected in the municipal administration of its capital, St. John’s. Until 1888, the colonial government had assumed direct responsibility for providing municipal services. In 1888, this form of municipal control was modified as St. John's received limited incorporation with the government still retaining responsibility for some services. It did not get full incorporation because the St. John’s elite, which controlled the colonial government, was opposed to the establishment of a municipal council that would be elected by a majority of citizens. St. John's was thus given a Council that was partially responsible to both the government and the citizens. -- This particular form of municipal control was, in general, unsuccessful, as successive councils throughout the 1890’s were handicapped both by government interference and by insufficient revenue. The former was most obvious after the 1892 Fire when the Whiteway Government took away from the Council--which was controlled by its opponents--its rebuilding authority, while in 1898 the Winter Government removed the seven councillors from office and replaced them with three of their own supporters. In both instances, these actions were politically motivated. Insufficient revenue was a serious impediment to Council’s ability to provide adequate services, while at the same time paying the annual interest on a civic debt which was doubled by the Whiteway Government after the 1892 Fire for rebuilding. This debt was in 1898 greatly reduced and an all-elective municipal system in 1902, expressly to put the Council on a self-supporting basis and to free it from any direct political connection with the colonial government.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5551
Item ID: 5551
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 215-220.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1975
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Municipal government--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; St. John's (N.L.)--History

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