Rebellions of 1837–38
By the 1830s, reform movements in both Upper and Lower Canada felt that full democracy was not being delivered fast enough. It was even proposed by some that Canada should adopt the same values as the United States, or even join forces with it. However, although armed uprisings took place in 1837 – 38 in Toronto and outside Montreal, public support was weak and the rebels were suppressed by Canadian volunteers and British soldiers. Some of the rebels were hanged or sent into exile, although some of them were allowed to return later.
The British sent Lord Durham to investigate these rebellions, and he proposed that there should be a merger of Upper and Lower Canada and that responsible government should be established, i.e. that to be able to govern, the Crown must be supported by the majority of elected representatives. Lord Durham also suggested that if the Canadiens wanted faster progress then they should become part of the culture of the English-speaking Protestants. This showed that Lord Durham had completely misunderstood the desire of the French Canadians to retain their unique identity in Canada.
Notable reformers of this time included Sir Etienne-Paschal Taché, Sir George-Etienne Cartier and Sir John A. Macdonald, all of whom became Fathers of Confederation.