Book cover image for: Reconsidering Confederation: Canada’s Founding Debates, 1864-1999

Reconsidering Confederation: Canada's Founding Debates, 1864-1999


Edited by Daniel Heidt

$34.99 CAD / $34.99 USD

320 pages, 48 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-77385-015-3 (Paperback)

978-1-77385-017-7 (Institutional PDF)

978-1-77385-018-4 (ePub)

978-1-77385-019-1 (mobi)

November 2018

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About the Book

July 1st 1867 is celebrated as Canada’s Confederation – the date that Canada became a country. But 1867 was only the beginning. As the country grew from a small dominion to a vast federation encompassing ten provinces, three territories, and hundreds of First Nations, its leaders repeatedly debated Canada’s purpose, and the benefits and drawbacks of the choice to be Canadian.

Reconsidering Confederation brings together Canada’s leading historians to explore how the provinces, territories, and Treaty areas became the political frameworks we know today. In partnership with The Confederation Debates, an ongoing crowdsourced, non-partisan, and non-profit initiative to digitize all of Canada’s founding colonial and federal records, this book breaks new ground by integrating the treaties between Indigenous peoples and the Crown into our understanding of Confederation.

Rigorously researched and eminently readable, this book traces the unique paths that each province and territory took on their journey to Confederation. It shows the roots of regional and cultural grievances, as vital and controversial in early debates as they are today. Reconsidering Confederation tells the sometimes rocky, complex, and ongoing story of how Canada has become Canada.

Reconsidering Confederation is part of The Confederation Debates. Discover what arguments were made about confederation by leaders in your area, find free mini-units and lesson plans for teaching confederation to Grades 7/8 and high school classes, see daily confederation quotes, and more

Daniel Heidt is an independent scholar whose numerous publications focus on Ontario and Canadian political history, as well as the Arctic during the Cold War. He is the founder and manager of The Confederation Debates.

With Contributions By: Raymond B. Blake, Phillip Buckner, Colin Coates, Ken S. Coates, Barry Ferguson, Maxime Gohier, Daniel Heidt,P. Whitney Lackenbauer, André Légaré, Marcel Martel, J.R. Miller, Martin Pâquet, Patricia Roy,  Robert Wardhaugh, and Bill Waiser

Praise for Reconsidering Confederation:

Much more than a basic outline of regional differences during the process of Confederation . . . Reconsidering Confederation provides a very extensive selection of excellently written articles that effectively interrogate the foundational debates of Confederation.

– Alex Gagne, BC Studies

By emphasizing the debates over Confederation themselves – what was at stake? Why were different positions held? Who was opposed to Confederation and why? Were there common sides to the debate over Confederation across Canada and over time? – this collection encourages readers to engage with the arguments themselves. 

– P.E. Bryden, Professor, Department of History, University of Victoria 

This book signals a turning point in generalist histories about Canada’s ongoing confederation. 

– John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria. 

This collection brings to the fore the dialogues and debates that shaped the modern state and the compromise between local autonomy and central governance that continues to animate it. 

– Robert Hamilton, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary