The first nine years of representative government in Newfoundland

Harris, Leslie (1959) The first nine years of representative government in Newfoundland. 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

Representative Government was granted to Newfoundland in 1832. In 1841 the Imperial Parliament found it necessary to suspend the system of Government that had been introduced. The aim of this thesis is to contribute something to the knowledge of the history of the intervening years and to attempt to answer the question of why suspension was necessary. -- In pursuance of this aim the political and social background is established in chapters one and two respectively. This having been done, the events of the nine year period are dealt with in chronological order, though the financial affairs of the first Assembly, the by-election of 1833 and the election of 1836 are dealt with in separate chapters. -- The significance of dealing with these specific topics separately is that they each contribute something to the development of the theme which is that under existing circumstances representative institutions in Newfoundland were doomed to failure. -- The circumstances to which reference is made were antipathy to law and government, lack of cohesion within the Newfoundland community, lack of education or political experience, isolation, poverty, an unsound economy, a deep- rooted class division, the intrusion of large numbers of poor immigrants who could not be readily absorbed into the social or economic life of the Colony, religious antagonisms, and an unsympathetic Imperial Government. -- For nine years the struggle continued between the Assembly, aspiring to broader democracy, and the Council, holding tenaciously to their vested interests. The struggle to control finance constituted the major battle and the result was stalemate. The decision to suspend the constitution was made, ostensibly because of election riots in 1840 and the fear that a general election would result in more serious outbreaks, but actually because all those concerned knew that under existing conditions the established institutions could not possibly function.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7271
Item ID: 7271
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 162-172.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1959
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Representative government and representation--Newfoundland and Labrador--19th century; Newfoundland and Labrador--History--19th century; Newfoundland and Labrador--Politics and government--19th century; Newfoundland and Labrador--Social conditions--19th century

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