In less than fifty years Canada experienced six major rebellions: in Lower and Upper Canada in late 1837 and 1838, the Fenian rebellions of 1866 and 1870 and the Pembina affair in 1871 and Louis Riel's resistance at Red River in 1869-1870 and his rebellion fifteen years later in Saskatchewan. Each failed to achieve its aims and, in one sense, the two books in the Canadian Rebellion series are studies of political disappointment. The second volume, The Irish, the Fenians and the Metis, considers the impact of the Irish diaspora on the United States and Canada and the rebellions led largely by Irish-American Fenians in the 1860s and 1870s and also the rebellions, led by Louis Riel in 1869-1870 and 1885, by the Metis.
Chapter 1 examines the Irish diaspora to North America during the nineteenth century and focuses especially on the impact of the Famine in the 1840s and 1850s. Chapter 2 considers at the ways in which Irish nationalism maintained a strong political presence in the United States and Canada from the beginning of the nineteenth century and the emergence of the Fenian Brotherhood in New York in 1858. The political impact of this movement was both enhanced and restricted by the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865 yet the Fenians emerged in April 1865 as a powerful, if increasingly divided, force with concrete plans for the liberation of Ireland. Chapter 3 explores in detail at the three Irish-American Fenian incursions into Canada in 1866, 1870 and briefly and debatably in 1871, the impact that they had on Canadian and American politics and how this led to changes in Irish nationalism in the 1870s. Chapters 4 and 5 extend the story geographically beyond Quebec and Ontario across the continent to the unchartered and largely unsettled prairies of the North-West. The importance of rebellion in state-building in Canada is considered in the final chapter.
1 Famine and Diaspora
2 Irish Nationalism in North America to 1865
3 Rebellions in Canada, 1866, 1870 and 1871
4 Riel and Resistance, 1869-1870
5 Riel and Rebellion, 1885
6 A Contested Consensus
Appendix: Who ran colonial government?
Comprehensive narrative and analysis of the context causes, course and results of the rebellions including analysis of constitutional, political, social, economic and cultural influences
Discusses the effects of the Irish Famine and the resulting emigration to the United States and Canada
Examines the influence of nationalism on political developments in the United States and Canada
Considers the role played by individuals such as John Mahony, Louis Riel and John A. Macdonald on the development of competing political agendas
Examines the rebellions in their historiographical context