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UBC Theses and Dissertations

British imperialism and confederation : the case of British Columbia Reid, David Dougla

Abstract

This thesis examines the forces behind British Columbia's entry into the Canadian Federation in 1871 by examining the historical and structural circumstances surrounding the relative stages of economic development in the Colony and the British metropolis. The thesis argues that British Columbia's entry into Confederation occured within the total framework of capitalist expansion in the nineteenth century. It occured within the context of British imperialism. The instruments of British imperialism and the character of economic development in the hinterland region of the Pacific Northwest, however, changed as the economic structure of England changed. The road to Confederation for British Columbia—as for Canada—was essentially determined by a shift in the economic structure of England from merchant to industrial capitalism. At a lower level of generality, the thesis concludes that a triangle of trade and capital investment existed between Victoria, San Francisco and London, and through London,to Montreal. This metropolitan network tied the Colony to Great Britain and ultimately to Canada. The ruling class of British Columbia was firmly linked to British capital, and it actively sought, in London, Montreal and Victoria, the achievement of Confederation.

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