William Coaker and the loss of faith: toward and beyond consensus in the suspension of Newfoundland's self-government, 1925-1933

Long, Gene (1992) William Coaker and the loss of faith: toward and beyond consensus in the suspension of Newfoundland's self-government, 1925-1933. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis attempts to show that the loss of Newfoundland's self-government in 1933 was the result of an historical process rooted in the political experience of the country which can be identified as having its origins in the disillusionment first expressed by William Coaker in 1925. As leader of the Fishermen's Protective Union whose political career followed a parallel course of decline with that of the country as a whole, particularly as the state failed time and again to effectively regulate the country's fishery, Coaker conceived an idea of government by commission which would come to stand as a singular contribution to the evolution of Newfoundland's political and constitutional history. -- In order to establish a context in which the events of this period can be assessed it is necessary to consider both the historiographic reference points which reveal significant gaps in the treatment of the relevant issues, and the longer historical patterns which gave rise to a profound political malaise. The country's crisis may be defined as one of collective e self-confidence in which over time, as Coaker continued to advocate a radical proposition for political reform, others came to adopt his views as their own, without including his prescriptions for retaining some measure of democratic practice. -- In the end Coaker objected vigourously to what he identified as an anti-democratic distortion of his original proposal. But by this time the idea of a commission government, while bearing his imprint, had come to take on its own attributes derived from the political discourse of the period, which included an extensive process of review through the proceedings of the Arnulree Royal Commission. It is in the light of a close reading of the primary Newfoundland sources, and in particular those which illuminate the course of Coaker's idea, that the suspension of self-government may be seen as the end result of a protracted search for a solution to the country's unending struggle to move forward.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10919
Item ID: 10919
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [141]-146.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1992
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Coaker, W. F. (William Ford), 1871-1938; Newfoundland--Commission of Government; Newfoundland and Labrador--History--1855-1934; Newfoundland and Labrador--Politics and government--1855-1934;

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