Defining an American is not as simple as it would appear. A definition that restricts itself to citizens of the United States, while at first glance plausible, upon reflection poses many problems. Almost all American historians agree that there were Americans before there was a United States, and indeed the emergence of an American nationality within the British Empire was one of the major causes of the rupture with Great Britain. Certainly Nova Scotia, which received thousands of settlers from the New England colonies before 1776, recognized those newcomers as “Americans” and labelled them as such in its 1767 census. In more recent times, the Canadian census confined the use of the word “American” to a political concept of United States citizenship, and this narrowly legalistic definition had dubious results. Until 1991 it was impossible for a person being enumerated in a Canadian census to identify his or her national origins as American, because American was defined as a political rather than a cultural or ethnic category. (The same rule has applied to Canadians.) The 1991 census did permit people to “write in” American as a national origin, but this nationality, unlike British and French, was not on the census check-off list. The difficulty of adopting the identification of American is one of the reasons why only 49,390 people of American origin appear in the 1991 Canadian census, while millions of people of British and French origin are listed.
Any definition of American must accept both that there were Americans before there was a United States and that “American” has an ethnocultural as well as a political dimension. Scholars have spent much time debating the essential characteristics of the American identity and there is much disagreement over the mix, but few would deny the existence of a cultural nationality that is distinctively American. For their part, Canadians have frequently defined themselves in terms of the perceived differences between their values and American ones. Thus American culture is often regarded by Canadians as chauvinistic, inward-looking, boastful, aggressive, and violent – whereas Canadians are somehow “nicer.” Such efforts may in the end tell us more about Canadians than about Americans, but they do testify to the long-standing perception on both sides of the border that to be American typically involves more than mere citizenship.
Although most newcomers to Canada from south of the border are and have been both United States citizens and cultural Americans, there are some who do not entirely fit under either of these two categories. The American blacks who came to Canada before the American Civil War, for example, were almost without exception not American citizens, and the extent to which they embodied mainstream American culture is debatable. Whether “American Indians” in the nineteenth century were citizens of the United States is a complex question, as is that of whether aboriginal culture was American. Finally, large numbers of newcomers to Canada came from the United States but were not citizens, not having been born there. Many of these people retained some of the culture of their immigrant origins, but most had been profoundly influenced by their American residency in ways that cannot be properly measured. (See also ABORIGINALS;  AFRICAN CANADIANS;  HUTTERITES;  MENNONITES; MORMONS .)
People from the United States (or its colonial predecessors) have migrated to Canada for nearly two hundred and fifty years. It is difficult to characterize those migrants with any simple formula, both because of the long duration of the migratory experience and because of other reasons inherent in such a lengthy history. The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, and the ethnic composition of its own population (and the resultant culture) has altered greatly over the centuries under the pressure of new immigration and other factors. Furthermore, American immigration to Canada has not been a steady stream over the course of more than two centuries. Instead, there have been certain periods in which Americans came to Canada in significantly greater numbers and/or represented a substantially greater proportion of the overall immigrant total.
There has always been such a constant flow of population across the border that discussion cannot be confined solely to the periods of greater significance. Nevertheless, those eras and the troughs between them are worth emphasizing. The first significant period was between 1749 and 1812, when Americans constituted the largest single immigrant group in Canada and had an enormous impact on Canadian society and culture in a variety of areas. The anti-American backlash following the War of 1812 (particularly in Upper Canada, or Ontario as it later became known) kept American immigration to British North America relatively small in absolute numbers between 1815 and 1871 and almost minuscule in comparison with the influx of British immigrants in these years; the largest single component was blacks, freed and slave. American immigration picked up with the opening of the Canadian west after 1871, peaking in the years immediately preceding World War I. It then declined until the 1950s, when, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the total immigration to Canada, it increased significantly.
Over the years, Americans have come to Canada as individuals and in groups for virtually all of the usual reasons explaining immigration: religious and political persecution, racial discrimination, and economic opportunity. Some, most notably those belonging to pacifist religious groups of mainly German origin, such as the Amish and the Hutterites, immigrated to Canada to preserve their religio-ethnic identities from the perceived threat of American nationalism. Among this category of migrants, some arrived as refugees during and immediately after the American Revolution, but every war in which the United States was involved produced at least a trickle of pacifists seeking to avoid military involvement. Other religious groups, such as the Mormons, came partly to preserve their collective identity and also to acquire new land. Yet members of religious communities have not been the only exiles or refugees from the United States to migrate to Canada. There have been four other major groups of refugees: the Loyalists, who abandoned their homes in the United States after the American Revolution out of political conviction; blacks, both freed and slave, who made their way along the so-called Underground Railway and via other means into Canada and British North America in the decades before the American Civil War; Amerindians, who were driven off their traditional lands in territory claimed by the United States; and war resisters from every war, but particularly from the Vietnam War of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Through the centuries, refugees or exiles have probably been the distinct minority among American immigrants to Canada. Many American newcomers have been attracted in part by the open spaces and greater sense of social order that has seemed to characterize Canada in comparison with the United States. Most, however, have been drawn by various sorts of economic opportunity. The availability of land for agricultural purposes and economic advancement has been the greatest attraction, but many Americans have come to take up specific employment, in the resource industries of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and, more recently, in the professions (especially university teaching, engineering, and medicine).
Although identifiable subgroups among immigrants to Canada born in the United States have not shared all the attributes of American nationality and culture, most have brought distinctively American traits – such as a predilection for freehold land tenure – with them. Over time many of those ways have become Canadian as well, partly because of the cultural influence of the newcomers, but more significantly because of a shared continental environment. It is extremely difficult to separate the direct influence of the large numbers of American immigrants upon Canadian culture and the indirect influence resulting both from the presence of the United States on the southern border of Canada and from the similar settlement experiences of the two countries.
Most American immigrants to Canada have always spoken English, and it could well be argued that those coming to Canada from the United States who did not speak English were not truly assimilated Americans to begin with. The non-English speakers included several of the religious groups mentioned above, chiefly the Amish, Mennonites, and the Hutterites; recent immigrants to the United States who decided to move on to Canada, particularly Scandinavians from the American mid-west; and a substantial proportion of the nineteenth-century Amerindians driven across the border by the great Indian wars. We know very little about the language spoken by the black immigrants, especially the slaves, although it probably ranged from standard American English of the time to various black dialects of English. The most important characteristic of standard American English, of course, was that it was quite different in pronunciation and vocabulary from the English spoken by immigrants to Canada from the British Isles, amounting in most cases to what linguists would call a variant or variety of English rather than a distinct dialect. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, American accents (often labelled as “Yankee”) were much more readily identifiable in Canada than they would become in the twentieth century, with its tendency toward an homogenized North American English. But regional American accents, particularly those from the American south and southwest, continue to be one of the readily distinguishable features of many Americans in Canada. Indeed, Canadians, especially those from central and western Canada, speak North American English with less regional accent than many Americans do. In any event, both spoken and written English have always travelled back and forth across the border with little difficulty.
Statistical information on American migration to Canada is singularly unsatisfactory, for a variety of reasons. In the first place, the early migrations occurred in periods before any sort of official record-keeping was in operation, and we can at best provide informed estimates. But even the presence of modern record-keepers does not much help in the particular case of the Americans. Until recent years, the border between Canada and the United States has been a very open one. The American government has never kept track of those emigrating from the United States, and for most of the period between 1870 and 1915 border counts by either the American or the Canadian authorities merely recorded the numbers crossing the border without distinction between immigrants and travellers (or cross-border shoppers).
The situation is complicated by other factors. Some of those emigrating from the United States to Canada have not been Americans but recent immigrants to the United States moving on for one reason or another. Most of this traffic has traditionally involved Europeans, although a few people from Asia (Chinese and Japanese) came to Canada via the United States in the mid-nineteenth century and non-Europeans have come across the border in greater numbers in recent years. Moreover, a number of those departing the United States for Canada have always been returning Canadians. At the same time, because of the ease of traffic across the border, large numbers of those immigrating to Canada from the United States have been able to return to the United States. This return has been particularly common for many within the refugee or exile groups who came to Canada for particular political reasons which were eventually resolved. Finally, in the more recent period, the semi-clandestine (and, from the American standpoint, criminal) nature of much of the war-resister movement made it difficult to obtain accurate figures on the numbers involved.
The unwillingness of the Canadian census to recognize Americans as an ethnic group has further limited the data. Since the turn of the century Canada has attempted to maintain accurate figures on gross immigration from the United States. Net figures, however, are considerably less reliable, particularly since the only census data that can be employed is for the American-born in Canada, a category not necessarily identical with those of American nationality or ethnicity. Even from the Canadian standpoint, the era of the Vietnam War made accurate record-keeping difficult. Many American war resisters came to Canada as visitors rather than as immigrants, particularly in the early period before the attitude of the Canadian government towards this population was well known, and returned to the United States when amnesties were declared without ever passing through official records.
On a decade-by-decade basis from 1749 to 1989, gross or total American immigration to what is now Canada is as follows:
|American immigration to Canada, 1749-1989*|
|1811-1820||5,000 (including 2,500 blacks)|
|1831-1840||8,000 (including 5,000 blacks)|
|1841-1850||30,000 (including 5,000 blacks)|
|1851-1860||60,000 (including 20,000 blacks)|
|1871-1880||30,000 (plus 10,000 Indians)|
|1881-1890||30,000 (plus Indians)|
*Figures before 1900 are the author’s estimates, based on secondary literature; those after 1900 are drawn from the official census.
The total figure for the period from 1749 to 1990 amounts to 2,378,800 American immigrants, making the United States and its colonial predecessors one of the major sources of immigration to Canada. All but the latest figures cannot be broken down by gender.
Generalizations about the identity of American immigrants to Canada are virtually impossible. On the whole, Americans have been better educated and in possession of more capital than most other immigrant groups, but, beyond these points, the characteristics of American immigrants and American immigration depend very much upon which subgroup is examined. Some groups (exiles, refugees, and doctors, for example) have had a very high rate of ultimate return to the United States, while others (members of separatist religious communities and farmers) have had an equally high rate of remaining in Canada. For some groups, particularly exiles and refugees, the “push” factor was very strong. For most American immigrants, however, the “pull” factor – chiefly the attraction of economic opportunities and access to land unavailable in the United States – was most important. Exile and refugee groups tended to have younger than average immigrants, often almost exclusively male, although many of the religious communities migrated as families. Wom-en’s roles were subordinate in most groups, although there were women of distinction among the Nova Scotia planters, the Loyalists, the blacks, and the western farmers.
The predominant region of destination varied over time, depending chiefly on which region was being opened for agricultural settlement. By and large, Canadians of American origin are very widely dispersed across the nation, although there are some interesting subpatterns. Most blacks who travelled along the Underground Railway settled in southwestern Upper Canada, with small contingents later on Vancouver Island and what was to become Alberta. A disproportionate number of American immigrants in the 1970s and 1980s went to the Maritime region, apparently attracted by its relatively rural and small-town nature. Most war resisters went to the larger cities, especially Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, where organizations to assist the newcomers were active.
For American immigrants to Canada, the process of arrival and settlement needs to be discussed both in terms of chronological periods and in terms of particular subgroups.
A handful of Americans were appointed as officials of Nova Scotia after it was reorganized as a colonial administration in 1713, and, since the seventeenth century, a larger number had summered in various parts of the Atlantic region to participate in the fisheries. But the real influx began after the fortress of Louisbourg, which had been captured by New England troops with British naval assistance in 1745 and afterwards occupied by Americans, was returned to the French in 1748. At first the Americans consisted of official appointments and a number of merchants, many coming from Louisbourg. The New Englanders were not universally popular in early Nova Scotia, one British newcomer observing, “Of all the people upon earth I never heard any bear so bad a character for Cheating designing people & all under the Cloack of religion.”
The British government attempted between 1749 and 1752 to people Nova Scotia with colonists recruited in Britain (often disbanded soldiers and sailors) and on the continent of Europe (the so-called “foreign Protestants”). The policy was not particularly successful and was very expensive, and so, following the reconquest of Louisbourg in 1758, the Nova Scotia authorities turned to New England for prospective settlers. With the aid of grants from Britain, notices were placed in New England newspapers advertising the availability of prime farm land (much of it improved by the expelled Acadians) as well as free transportation and other subsidies. Such an offer had a particular appeal in land-hungry parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and southeastern Massachusetts, and it was these areas that provided most of the 8,000 to 12,000 “Yankees” who arrived in the province between 1759 and 1762. The migrants tended to move, particularly to the agricultural lands of the Annapolis and St John’s River valleys, as communities of families with kinship ties; however, the fishing ports of Nova Scotia’s south shore, which were settled in this period, often contained chiefly single young men, many of whom were only sojourning in the province.
The American immigrants brought their particular dialects of English and a propensity for evangelical-style religion within a Puritan-Calvinist context. By the time of a detailed census of Nova Scotia (including Cape Breton, a northern section that would become New Brunswick, and St John’s Island, later to be renamed Prince Edward Island) in 1767, Americans were easily the largest single component of the total regional population, representing about half of an otherwise polyglot mixture of English, Irish, Scots, Germans, Acadians, and native peoples. This ethnic dominance would help ensure that New England ways would prevail in many parts of the province, and, despite an enormous British immigration to Nova Scotia after 1790, parts of the province still have a “Yankee” feel to them today.
Although the Nova Scotia subsidies were ended in 1762, the British government continued to hope to attract Americans northward, particularly to newly acquired parts of the Empire with “alien” populations, such as Quebec. Several hundred American-born merchants moved into Quebec after the conquest of 1760, and the Proclamation of 1763 (which enunciated British policy for the conquered territories) was based upon the assumption that Americans would settle there; former officers and soldiers in the British army were offered extensive land allocations. Land grants throughout British North America were made exclusively to males, and indeed the American migration northward of this period contained many single males, although there were often families among the newcomers from New England. The extent of the foreignness of Quebec after 1763 combined with the growing hostility between Britain and her American colonies to prevent an American influx to the colony, but a few hundred Americans did take up land outside Montreal and Quebec, especially in the Richelieu valley. One of these Americans, Moses Hazen, would recruit habitants for the American army in 1776. Others, such as the legendary Peter Pond, entered the western fur trade via its Quebec base. In Nova Scotia, a combination of economic depression and growing political conflict drove many American settlers back to New England after 1765, and settlement remained precariously perched in isolated communities on the eve of the American Revolution.
Large numbers of Americans had not been attracted northward between 1763 and 1775, but the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1775 produced an initial trickle of refugees that rapidly turned into a flood. As much as 20 percent of the American population of European origin supported the British cause, and, when the warfare was finished, the American Revolution had produced a greater proportion of exiles to the total population than the French, Russian, or Cuban revolutions. In the first years of the conflict between Britain and her colonies, most of those exiled Americans who left the United States were members of the office-holding classes or clergymen of the Church of England. If they could afford it, these exiles preferred to head for the mother country, but some took up residence in Nova Scotia and Quebec. Larger numbers of refugees, many of them not members of the ruling élite, began heading northward after 1778, when the New York frontier burst into open conflict between rebels and Loyalists. The conflict was made more intense when the Six Nations of the Iroquois were – against their will – drawn into its orbit, particularly after 1779, when an American army laid waste the Iroquois villages in the Hudson valley. By 1780 there were hundreds of exiles, both native and European, outside the fortifications at Fort Niagara, and they began settling the Niagara peninsula soon afterwards.
The British lost the military struggle in 1781 and turned to making peace with the rebels by sacrificing their American allies and supporters. While negotiations dragged on in Europe, Loyalist refugees and soldiers were drawn to New York, the major centre of British authority and power on the eastern seaboard. There, they waited anxiously for word about the peace negotiations, and, in the meantime, agents fanned out across Britain’s loyal American empire from Nova Scotia and Quebec to the Caribbean, investigating land and political conditions in the event of the worst. By the autumn of 1782, it was fairly clear that the Loyalists were among the big losers of the peace negotiations, and Sir Guy Carleton, the British commander-in-chief at New York, began to arrange for the movement of large bodies of people to Nova Scotia (which then included New Brunswick). The islands of St John, Cape Breton, and Newfoundland had no readily available land and were not destinations for the migrations of 1782 and 1783.
On 22 September 1782 Carleton sketched out a policy for Loyalist relocation, emphasizing that land grants were to be “considered as well founded Claims of Justice rather than of mere Favor” and were to be made without fees or quitrents. He expected that families would receive 240 hectares of land and single men 120 hectares, and he also promised tools from New York stores. Initially overlooked were those soldiers in the various provincial regiments recruited in America, but this oversight was corrected early in 1783 and the policy for civilians was extended to them. Blacks were fully freed to depart New York after complex negotiations with the Americans in 1783, and over 3,000 individuals recorded in a “Book of Negroes” (about 10 percent of the total departing for Nova Scotia) took their places in the transport vessels being assembled in New York harbour.
Moving and compensating the Loyalists would be an expensive business, representing a major act of public support for colonization, one of the largest ever executed by the British government in its history; the settlement of Australia cost more but was more complicated, involving as it did the transportation of convicts half-way around the world. The ultimate cost of Loyalist resettlement figured in the millions of pounds and made earlier expenditures in Nova Scotia seem insignificant. Newfoundland would receive no Loyalists, while Cape Breton and Saint John’s Island (the latter very indirectly) received about 1,000 each. About 35,000 arrived in Nova Scotia, and over 10,000 sought refuge in the colony of Quebec, mainly in what would become Upper Canada, although more than 2,000 settled around Sorel near Montreal. The British policy of the post-1763 period of insisting that settlement be self-financing was swept away, and under emergency conditions the loyal colonies of her Empire received a publicly subsidized injection of much-desired English-speaking American colonists.
In general terms, the Loyalists could be divided into two categories: refugees (including whites, blacks, and native peoples) and disbanded soldiers (some of whom were American but many of whom were German, Irish, Scots, and English). Among the refugees were substantial numbers of recently arrived and unassimilated immigrants to the American colonies, often Scots; members of German-speaking Anabaptist communities such as Mennonites and Tunkers; more than 3,000 American blacks, mainly ex-slaves, whose culture was Afro-American rather than American; and several thousand Iroquois. The majority of the refugees and disbanded soldiers were Americans forced into exile because of their political allegiance, and their values, including an attachment to the institution of slavery, would predominate in most Loyalist communities in British North America.
No complete demographic picture of the Loyalists is currently available, and an accurate one is probably impossible. There are simply too many holes in the data. Even the fullest files, those on Loyalists receiving compensation from the British government, are incomplete, and, in any case, those Loyalists are not a representative cross-section of the settlers. Yet the demographic data that does exist is suggestive. As far as the national origin of the Loyalists is concerned, there are two sets of figures. One, for those in Nova Scotia (including New Brunswick) claiming compensation, shows 721 American-born among 1,422 total applicants (or just over 50 percent). A similar relationship exists for the Loyalists in eastern Upper Canada, with American-born and foreign-born exactly equal in numbers. The percentage of American-born was doubtless higher among later refugees than among those who had come during the war. Most of the foreign-born came from the British Isles, of course, and many may have become thoroughly Americanized, although most had immigrated in the 1760s and 1770s. A disproportionate number of Loyalists (as many as 50 percent) had previously resided in New York, but this was perhaps not surprising given the fact that New York was so close to Quebec and the centre for Loyalists at the end of the war. As for ages of the new arrivals, the data is best for Loyalist heads of families. One study of Loyalists on St John’s Island indicates that the average age of disbanded soldiers was 33 years and that of civilian refugees 35.6 years.
Occupationally, the Loyalists represented a cross-section of the American colonists, with farmers the largest single group (over 80 percent) and considerably smaller numbers of artisans, merchants, and professionals. Ascertaining how many women and children accompanied or joined heads of household in exile is extremely difficult. Available evidence indicates that most private soldiers granted land were single men without families, while close to half of non-commissioned and commissioned officers and over half of civilian refugees settled with their families. Thirteen percent of Loyalist claimants were women, which meant that one in eight Loyalist heads of household was actually a female. Just over 30 percent of adult Loyalists in eastern Upper Canada were women.
As the above figures suggest, women were an important part of the Loyalist movement. Many women, left at home by husbands who sought refuge behind British lines or went off to fight for the British, were harassed, plundered, and persecuted by the patriots before being forced into exile. There was much stress and a sense of powerlessness resulting from their situation, particularly since many males did not consult fully with their wives before making their cataclysmic political decision. Exile meant long periods in temporary quarters as dependent parts of a patriarchal military and civilian regime. The majority of women Loyalists were undoubtedly American in origin, probably a larger percentage than in the Loyalist population as a whole, since many immigrants had come to the colonies as single men and married native-born wives.
Blacks and native peoples were also important components of the Loyalist resettlement. Since both groups were composed of individuals born in the Thirteen Colonies, they were more American in terms of their place of origin than were the Loyalists in general. The Mohawks of the Iroquois Confederacy had gone farther in the direction of assimilation than had most other native groups, and they were the principal component of the First Nations Loyalists. As for the blacks, they were mainly set apart from the other Loyalists, particularly in Nova Scotia, and most of them left Canada for Sierra Leone in the 1790s because of a sense of mistreatment and frustration. While they were in Canada the blacks had had little time either to solidify a previous Afro-American culture or to develop a new emergent one.
The great migration of Loyalist refugees to Nova Scotia took place in 1783, with troop transport ships bringing thousands of newcomers to the region. There were two principal destinations: the mouth of the Saint John River and Port Roseway (renamed Shelburne) on the southwest coast of the province. In the western portion of the province of Quebec, a tent city came into being in 1784 at Cataraqui (Kingston, Upper Canada), and smaller settlements spread across the region; many were formed by military units acquiring blocks of land. Almost without exception, these Loyalist communities proved extremely transient. Shelburne, which had over 10,000 people at its peak, was but a tiny village by the 1790s. Even Saint John and Kingston, which achieved greater permanence, had enormous turnover rates, as did most of the tiny settlements. According to contemporary witnesses, most of the Loyalists who left British North America did so to return to the United States after the hard feelings of the war had died down. Although there is no firm data, as many as half of the 50,000-plus refugees of the period 1775–85 may not have remained permanently in Canada. This returning exodus would remain characteristic of Americans who immigrated to Canada as political exiles.
While the mid-1780s marked the conclusion of most Loyalist settlement in the Maritimes, the movement of American settlers into British North America continued beyond it. A number of the new migrants went to Lower Canada (Quebec) – the English-speaking population of that colony tripled from 10,000 to 30,000 between 1791 and 1812 – but far more settled in Upper Canada. Some of the newcomers – often called “late Loyalists” – were Quakers and Mennonites encouraged by offers of exemption from military service, but they were soon joined by a large influx of westward-moving American pioneers who took up land readily available from the government or private entrepreneurs. Until 1798 the Upper Canadian government regarded these Americans as Loyalists, permitting them to take an oath of allegiance with few questions asked.
Gradually the number of post-Loyalist American newcomers virtually overwhelmed the Loyalists, and, with few other immigrants arriving from Europe, Upper Canada particularly became increasingly concerned about the “American menace,” especially as friction between Britain and the United States heated up in the later years of the Napoleonic Wars. By the time of the War of 1812, Americans composed as much as 80 percent of an Upper Canadian population estimated by a contemporary in 1813 as 136,000. They also represented 10 percent of the population of Lower Canada.
The War of 1812 marked a distinct watershed in the history of American settlement in British North America. Especially in the Canadas, the war fostered hostility to American settlers on the part of both government and political élite, and in later years this hostility would combine with the enormous influx of British immigrants and the attractions of lands in the mid-western United States to reduce the American presence considerably. To be sure, virulent anti-Americanism was characteristic mainly of Upper Canada. A series of early frosts beginning in 1816 was probably more effective in keeping (or driving) Americans away from the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada than hostility to “Yankees,” although the French-Canadian majority in the Lower Canadian House of Assembly was not particularly enthusiastic about Americans, seeing them essentially as part of an effort to anglicize their society. People in the Maritimes moved back and forth across the border without much concern, but not many American settlers were attracted to the region after 1815. For British North America in general, British immigration replaced American as the fundamental driving force of frontier expansion, and the largest American immigration of the period 1815–71 was a distinctly specialized one, in the form of the fugitive slave.
The Loyalists had brought substantial numbers of slaves, as well as the fully developed institution of slavery, into British North America in the 1780s. A series of court cases in various provinces in the last years of the eighteenth and the first years of the nineteenth century had greatly limited the spread of the institution, however, as did legislation in Upper Canada in 1793. Legal opposition to slavery between 1793 and 1808 had made it virtually impossible to defend slavery publicly, and no one tried to do so. But slavery was not actually abolished until the imperial parliament passed legislation in 1833, to take effect the following year.
Yet hostility to slavery was not the same thing as sympathy for freed blacks, as the refugee blacks who settled in Nova Scotia between 1813 and 1816 could attest. These 2,400 blacks were those left behind British lines during the various occupations of American territory during the war, mainly in Maryland and Virginia, and most (2,000) were brought to Nova Scotia. In that province they were dumped upon plots of land too small to be viable and public subsidies were quickly ended. Local officials began agitating for their relocation either to the United States or to Africa, and some were sent to Trinidad in 1820. Most remained, however, to become the basis for the modern black community in Nova Scotia. These blacks experienced considerable prejudice and discrimination from the white community, and they were hardly treated as equals in terms of education and land.
Blacks had begun crossing the border into Upper Canada after 1815, and by the end of the 1820s they had created several border communities at Amherstburg and Niagara. But the real movement of blacks began after 1830. Contemporaries claimed that there were as many as 75,000 fugitive slaves resident in Upper Canada in 1860, and a modern estimate places the number of blacks in the colony at 40,000, three-quarters of whom were fugitive slaves or their offspring. Censuses showed far fewer blacks (4,669 in 1851, 11,223 in 1861), but their data was notoriously unreliable and Canadian officials themselves questioned the figures. Curiously, the censuses showed more females than males among British North America’s black population, whereas most fugitive slaves were males. The exodus from the United States doubtless increased after 1850 with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, which provided for the return of slaves who had escaped to free states within the union.
Whatever their numbers, neither freed blacks nor fugitive slaves found Upper Canada to be the ideal refuge. Employment in menial positions was not hard to find (by the 1830s most waiters in Niagara Falls hotels were blacks), but obtaining land was more difficult. Although many Canadians were prepared to be helpful, there was considerable prejudice against the blacks and a rapid growth of patterns of segregation. The new arrivals also suffered from the same anti-Americanism that characterized attitudes towards white settlers, with considerable fears expressed that they would exhibit disloyalty to Canada in times of crisis with the United States. The blacks constantly belied these concerns; indeed, according to the Reformer William Lyon Mackenzie, most remained “extravagantly loyal” and willing to “uphold all the abuses of government and support those who profit by them.” Moreover, in the view of government observers, black hatred of American slaveowners helped keep them loyal. In any event, almost a thousand blacks volunteered for military service to help put down the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada and many subsequently served in militia units. There were a few attempts at planned settlements by various philanthropists and charitable organizations, but most of them failed miserably. Only the Buxton settlement near Chatham, created by a separate and independently managed stock company in the 1850s, demonstrated any viability at all, although its founder, Presbyterian minister William King, in 1860 confessed his inability to “roll back the prejudice” against blacks. Nevertheless, 300 families were settled and 5,000 acres were brought under cultivation before the settlement dispersed in the 1870s.
The main attraction of British North America for fugitive blacks was not its colour-blindness but its fairly consistent refusal to extradite those who had successfully crossed the border for offences not liable to prosecution under Canadian laws. Since Canada did not recognize slavery, there was no crime involved in escaping from it, and both the colonial and the British governments tended to see most collateral crimes committed in the course of escaping (such as horsetheft) as mere pretexts for seeking the extradition of fugitive slaves. Despite the Webster-Ashburton treaty of 1843, which contained clauses on extradition, the British government held fast on the right of courts to decide on a fugitive’s motives for committing a crime; no fugitive slave was ever extradited under this treaty.
Not all fugitive slaves who set out for Canada actually reached their destination, and many freed blacks crossed into British North America as well. An organized group of San Francisco free blacks left that city for Vancouver Island in 1858, and as many as four hundred families of freedmen, most of them literate small-property owners, eventually arrived in Victoria, later moving to remote places such as Salt Spring Island. This movement of freed blacks into British Columbia was a part of a larger movement of Americans into British North America’s isolated western colony in the 1850s and 1860s. The new arrivals were adult males – mainly ones previously located in California – who were attracted by the discovery of gold in the interior of the colony. Estimates have placed the number of incoming miners as high as 25,000. The percentage of these who were actually American nationals is not known, but most of the newcomers had acquired mining experience in California whatever their nationality. That California experience included the organization of extralegal governmental structures, and the British Columbia authorities were quite fearful of similar developments in their colony. With the American war against Mexico (and the annexations of Texas and California) only recently completed, such fears were hardly fanciful. American westward expansion had been executed by using the presence of American settlers (all demanding annexation) as an excuse for official government action to take over territory claimed by others.
In the event, there was far less gold to be readily found in shallow diggings in the Fraser valley than had been the case in California, and, despite the discovery of new fields farther north in the Cariboo Lake region and in the Kootenays, the bulk of the miners quickly disappeared. Most of British Columbia’s gold could not be extracted with the simple techniques of small prospectors; deeper digging required complex technology, capital, and industrial organization. British Columbia would later in the century attract many Americans to exploit its mineral resources, but they were either industrialists or mine workers rather than individualistic prospectors.
The decade of the 1860s was one of great complexity for Canadian attitudes towards the United States, for American immigration, and for Americans already resident in Canada. In the first place, the United States became rent in 1861 by its great Civil War, which may have driven a few pacifists north but essentially kept Americans busy at home for many years. Despite a residual sympathy for the southern states, most Canadians probably supported the Union side, particularly after the war in 1863 became associated by Abraham Lincoln with the emancipation of slaves. Support for the north was strengthened when a handful of Confederates moved to Canada to conduct guerilla operations against the Union, particularly the notorious St Albans, Vermont, raid of 1864. The British government also supported the Union, and it devoted increasing attention to ways of defending British North America from American invasion or annexation. There were real fears that the victorious United States (the Confederacy was clearly on the defensive after 1863) would employ its enormous army to conquer Canada when the war was over, using various war claims against Great Britain as the pretext. Threatened invasions of Canada by armed Irish-Americans, the Fenians, in 1866 and 1867 seemed to bear out these concerns, as did the American purchase of Alaska in 1867 and constant American annexationist rhetoric. One result of the American military threat was the union of several of the provinces of British North America (Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick) as the dominion of Canada in 1867.
As a result of these complex circumstances, there was little American immigration to Canada during the 1860s; indeed, there was substantial migration from Canada to the United States, particularly on the part of blacks returning south after emancipation. At the same time, however, the decade saw the foundations laid for a permanent Anglo-American entente that would have a profound effect on Americans in Canada. Despite the rhetoric, both the United States and Great Britain refrained from provoking a direct confrontation during and after the Civil War. Instead, the two nations quietly continued to survey their joint boundary until a treaty could be negotiated to resolve their many differences. The resultant Treaty of Washington in 1871 permitted Britain to withdraw its military presence from British North America while it recognized the existence of Canada as an autonomous if not totally sovereign nation. Anglo-American detente opened a new era in Canadian-American relations; it also prompted a resurgence of American immigration into Canada.
Between 1871 and 1914, American migrants to Canada included three categories of people: businessmen, who came either to operate within the expanding resource economy or to found manufacturing establishments; workers, who were drawn (often on a seasonal basis) into the resource industries; and farmers, who helped to settle the newly opening Canadian west. All these groups had a significant impact on the Canadian economy, but the largest by far was the farmers.
The movement of Americans into the Canadian west divides into two periods: 1871–96 and 1896–1914. In the first period, immigration was relatively small in numbers. Apart from the cattlemen, sheep ranchers, and traders who crossed back and forth across the border – and whose presence was one of the reasons for the creation of the North-West Mounted Police in 1873 – only a few American settlers arrived in the west. While some recruitment was done, mainly by the government of Manitoba, most of the movement of settlers was due to the natural geographical affinity between the great plains on both sides of the 49th parallel. The second period – 1896–1914 – witnessed far more substantial American migration. After 1896, indeed beginning some years earlier, the Canadian government actively recruited settlers, and between the mid-1890s and World War I more than half a million American farmers took up residence in western Canada.
The settlement of the “Last Best West” was much influenced by American precedent. The system of surveying the land was developed by the Canadian government between 1869 and 1871 following extensive consultation with the United States Land Office. There were some Canadian variations, but the basic rectangular system adopted was American, as were the measurements (a section size consisted of 640 acres and a township of 36 sections). The most common form of official recruitment was by use of personal correspondence from existing settler to prospective settler, a technique first employed in settling Wisconsin in the 1850s. The greatest lure was “free” land eligible to be settled under preemption and homesteading provisions that originated in the United States and were essentially copied by the provinces and the dominion of Canada. Under homestead policy as it was ultimately developed, a settler in western Canada could receive after a few years a quarter-section of land (160 acres) for the cost of the fees of patenting it, providing that he improved it and built a house upon it. Many homesteaders were indeed land speculators, and in the end more settlers bought their land from land and railroad companies than homesteaded it. Much of the settlement in what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan occurred in the so-called Palliser’s Triangle, a dry belt with marginal rainfall. Experienced American “dry” farmers were held to be the best settlers of such land, although many new arrivals were given false expectations by a period of above-average rainfall before 1911.
If inexpensive or cheap land was the Canadian “pull” factor, economic conditions in the United States provided the “push.” Many American farmers were unable to escape the status of farm labourer or tenant because of the high costs of American land. Others hoped that, by selling their lands at inflated prices and buying cheaper land in Canada, they would be able to pay off their debts and expand their operations. Most of the migrants after 1896 came from the agricultural states of the American mid-west. Whether former farm owner, tenant, or labourer, the majority of the immigrants came with families and capital. Some arrived by railroad, others by covered wagon. The official estimate of wealth per capita was $1,000 and the total amount of cash and property taken into the Canadian west by Americans between 1900 and 1920 was calculated at between 270 million and one billion dollars. By the time of the 1911 census, there were 16,326 American-born inhabitants in Manitoba, 81,357 in Alberta, and 69,628 in Saskatchewan. Yet by that date too, many Americans had already returned to the United States. Statistics on the American-born were in any case deceptive, since the movement from the United States to the Canadian west included many ex-Canadians and recently immigrated foreign-born. One scholar, Paul Harvey, has argued that the American-born among the prairie immigrants of the period 1901–11 constituted less than 60 percent of the total; slightly more than 50 percent of the American-born in the prairie provinces in 1916 were of British origin, the remainder being of German (16.6 percent), Scandinavian (15.7 percent), French (5.5 percent), and Dutch (2.2 percent) background. At the same time, American-born departures from the west were heavy between 1912 (when drought conditions began in Palliser’s Triangle) and 1914 (when Canada joined World War I).
The fear that “the map of Manitoba and the North-West Territories [Saskatchewan and Alberta] might soon be – figuratively speaking – dotted with garrisons flying the Stars and Stripes,” as one British journalist put it in 1903, proved as groundless in the Canadian west as it had earlier been in Upper Canada. Indeed, American settlers were far more likely to become Canadian citizens than other immigrants of the period. Between 1902 and 1914, more than 74,000 American citizens were naturalized, over one-third of the total of Canadians naturalized in these years. The minister of agriculture possibly exaggerated in 1902 when he claimed that 70 percent of American immigrants to the Canadian west had been naturalized, but his remark was on the right track.
While the typical American immigrant to western Canada before 1914 may have been a mid-western farmer, there were many exceptions. The immigration total contained a substantial number of members of various minority groups not totally comfortable with the dominant American society. The groups can be divided into two types, the religious ones and the racial ones. Religious groups included the Mormons and the Mennonites; racial groups included American blacks and native peoples.
The first real movement of Mormon settlers from the United States began in 1887, when a party led by Charles Ora Card arrived in what is now southwestern Alberta. By 1906 the Mormon settlements around Cardston contained nearly 4,000 people. Ultimately 8,500 Mormons immigrated to Canada between 1898 and 1914, mostly settling in the Cardston region. Like the Mormons, the Mennonites were a religious community out of step with mainstream American experience. And like the Mormons too, the number of Mennonites of American origin was small, perhaps no more than 5,000 in total. Unlike the Manitoba Mennonites, who had come straight to Canada from Europe and were concentrated in specific districts, these new settlers were widely distributed across the west.
Not many blacks came to Canada between the American Civil War and the end of the nineteenth century, but, beginning in 1899, deteriorating racial conditions in the United States led to some interest in black migration to western Canada. This potential migration was rapidly squashed by Canadian immigration authorities; only a trickle of blacks into Canada was officially reported by the federal government in the early years of the twentieth century, and many may have been rejected at border inspections. Keeping native peoples and border Metis out of Canada was considerably more difficult than excluding blacks, since native peoples had little respect for the international border and crossed to and fro throughout the period of western settlement. Several thousand Indians fled northwards in the 1870s and 1880s from the United States cavalry and land-hungry settlers, some to return to the United States and others to remain in Canada. Neither Canada nor the United States particularly wanted to claim the Indians as citizens.
The outbreak of World War I cut the influx of all immigrants – including Americans – into Canada. But the beginnings of the decline had been evident just prior to the war, caused by economic depression and signs that the days of the “Last Best West” were nearing an end. The number of Americans migrating to Canada dropped from more than 100,000 per annum in the years 1910–13 to 97,712 in 1913.
A few Americans came to Canada expressly to join the war effort, particularly in the Royal Air Force. Total American immigration to Canada averaged about 40,000 annually for the war years, with a disproportionate number of the new arrivals still settling in western Canada. The Canadian government continued to support western settlement, seeing the prairies as the breadbasket of the Allied war effort. The only distinctive feature of the migration in these years involved the movement of pacifists and certain pacifist religious groups to Canada, particularly after the United States entered the war in 1917. Despite the controversial nature of Canadian conscription policy, there were more exemptions for pacifists in Canada than in the United States, including some historic arrangements with pacifist religious communities such as the Mennonites and Doukhobors. The arrival of Mennonite and Hutterite conscientious objectors during the war provoked considerable public debate, since some of these people insisted not only on military exemption but on the continuation of their right to speak in and be educated in German.
Most of the Mennonites who crossed the border were single young men of draft age who joined existing Mennonite communities. The Hutterites, in contrast, moved as a people. Sixteen of seventeen communities in South Dakota removed to Manitoba and Alberta in 1918, encouraged and supported by the Canadian government despite their pacifism. For the Canadian authorities, the gains to western agriculture outweighed the problems of exemptions for military service, particularly since immigration officials stressed that “these people are very desirable . . . clean, honourable, industrious and law-abiding.” Unlike the Mennonites, the Hutterites did not demand separate schools. In Manitoba, most of the Hutterites settled among Franco-Manitobans west of Winnipeg, a decision that may have assisted their acceptance in their new home since French Canada was in general opposed to conscription. In Alberta the Hutterites moved to the southwest corner of the province.
Although the Hutterites were able to bring their household goods and farm equipment with them from South Dakota, they had sold their land at distressed prices and purchased relatively expensive land in Canada. The Hutterite colonies in Canada were thus unable to acquire sufficient Canadian land in 1918 to avoid overcrowding, and the brethren were quickly forced to establish new colonies – twenty-three in Alberta and Manitoba between 1918 and 1922.
Between 1919 and the 1960s American immigration to Canada was marked by very little publicity and controversy. The 1931 census showed that the United States was the second leading source of Canada’s foreign-born population, behind only England and Wales and ahead of Scotland, Poland, Russia, and Ireland. Average annual immigration of Americans to Canada averaged 23,000 in the 1920s, 9,700 in the 1930s, 7,000 in the 1940s, 10,000 in the 1950s, and 12,000 in the first half of the 1960s. These numbers meant that the total number of American-born residents of Canada decreased in every census until 1971, and the proportion of Americans to total foreign-born Canadian residents equally declined.
Throughout the period, the regional preferences of the American newcomers altered dramatically. In the 1920s, the prairie region was still the most popular destination and the Maritimes the least. In the 1930s Ontario became the most popular intended destination, and would remain so, while British Columbia would become proportionally more popular in every decade. In some ways, total numbers are less important for the regional impact of American immigration than are proportions of total immigration. In terms of total regional immigration, Americans throughout this period consistently represented a disproportionate percentage of Atlantic Canada’s regional total. Quebec attracted more Americans than the entire Atlantic region, but many fewer than Ontario. Despite the fact that Ontario was by far the most consistent lure for American immigrants, they equally consistently made up a smaller percentage of total immigration in Ontario than in any other region. On the other hand, despite smaller numbers, Americans always represented a high proportion of British Columbia immigrants.
Over the period 1919–65, the occupational structure of American immigration and of the American-born in Canada changed as well, shifting from agricultural to professional vocations. In 1908, 83 percent of American immigrants declared farming to be their intention; by 1968 only 3 percent of Americans said they would farm, while a full 53 percent intended to hold a professional occupation. A similar shift occurred among the American-born. This pattern of abandonment of farming for professional work – while common to all immigrants and Canadian natives too – has been much more extreme for American-born residents of Canada and American immigrants.
The relatively homogeneous and uncontroversial patterns of American immigration to Canada during the 1919–65 period shifted markedly for a few years after 1965. Official numbers of immigrants increased dramatically – half of all emigrants leaving the United States in the years from 1965 to 1990 went to Canada – and there were probably large numbers of American-born resident in Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s not included in any official data. One obvious reason for the change was the Vietnam War, which produced another wave of refugee immigration to Canada. But the war resisters were not the only new American immigrants, nor even necessarily the most controversial. The mid1960s saw a major expansion of Canadian higher education, with a number of new universities constructed. Unable to staff its burgeoning universities with its own nationals, Canada turned abroad, particularly to Britain and the United States, to recruit a professoriate. In 1963, 390 university teachers immigrated to Canada (24.4 percent from Britain, 44.6 percent from the United States).
By the peak year of 1969, that immigration had risen to 2,398 (with percentages of British and Americans virtually identical to those of 1963). After 1969 the percentage of Americans increased to a figure closer to half of the total. Between 1965 and 1975 more than 16,000 university teachers arrived in Canada from abroad, nearly 50 percent of them American in origin.
American war resisters could be divided into three categories: the draft dodgers, the deserters, and – a group that is difficult to analyse in any detail – immigrants who were not formally part of the military system but were nevertheless hostile to the current American climate of opinion. The draft dodgers, who were avoiding military service by voluntarily removing themselves from the United States, were for the most part well-educated middle-class young men who were welcomed in Canada. The deserters, also young men but less well-educated and less demonstrably middle-class (reflecting the class bias of the American draft system), received a more mixed reception in Canada, partly because they were not such obviously qualified additions to Canadian society, partly because Canadians themselves had ambivalent feelings about desertion from duty. The political radicalism of many resisters led to some negative reactions from Canadian society.
Jews were over-represented among the dodgers, and Catholics among the deserters. Both dodgers and deserters tended to congregate in large Canadian cities, especially Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Toronto was the centre of many resister organizations and the place of publication of Mark Satin’s well-known Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada (1968). It sold over 100,000 copies in eight editions. Dodgers tended to have the full support of their families from the outset; deserters often operated without family blessings, at least initially. Many other American immigrants of the Vietnam period were pulled to Canada by economic opportunity while pushed from the United States by unpopular American policies. Though some war resisters eventually returned to the United States after amnesties were declared, many others remained in Canada, often becoming Canadian citizens. Most resisters felt that American amnesty offers were too conditional to be taken seriously. A call by the Canadian government in 1973 for illegal immigrants (not all of whom were American war resisters) to register with immigration authorities met with some success. It was estimated that 2,500 illegal resisters came forward, although many others remained underground. Paradoxically, many resisters felt less completely Canadian because they lacked one of any Canadian’s principal birthrights: the privilege of travelling openly in the United States.
In this century, the American-born have consistently been less urban a population than either the Canadian-born or foreign-born population as a whole. In the cities, Americans have integrated into the overall population, and there are no “American districts.” Outside the cities, there are a few areas of heavy American concentration, most of them bordering the United States. Each represents a distinct historical development. The American-born in Madawaska County, New Brunswick, for example, are chiefly the children of francophone parents who have returned to the region from sojourns in the United States. In Rainy River, Ontario, the American-born, like many of their counterparts elsewhere in the country, are the descendants of immigrants drawn to Canada by the pulp and paper industry. In southwestern Alberta, the American-born represent the remnants of the Mormon settlement of Canada in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Americans were among the economic leaders of British North America, active in every field of enterprise then conducted and dominant in several. They brought to British North America a highly developed spirit of entrepreneurship under pioneering conditions, although they had some reputation for sharp practice which may or may not have been deserved. As well, they brought with them their distinctive landholding patterns and predilections. In terms of landholding, the New England “Yankees,” the Loyalists, and the post-Loyalists all shared the typically American attachment to freehold tenure.
Patterns of land allocation in the new settlements of Nova Scotia in the 1760s were quite variable, as the New Englanders subdivided among themselves the 40,000-hectare townships they had been collectively awarded according to whatever practices they were familiar with at home. Most arrangements involved the scattering of individual holdings, but all landholding was based upon freehold tenure. Many of the Loyalists had been tenants on large estates in New York and were not anxious to repeat the process. Although many landlords would attempt to construct European-style estates in British North America, freehold tenure was so thoroughly established by the early American settlers that it was impossible to alter.
Over 80 percent of the Loyalists were farmers, and indeed the most common economic enterprise for Americans to enter before 1930 was farming, for which they were regarded by the Canadian government as peculiarly well suited. As for American involvement in another sector – business – the picture is complicated by the tendency of many American managers and executives to move back and forth across the border without establishing deep Canadian roots and by their equally common disinclination for publicity. Nevertheless, according to scholar Paul Harvey, more than sixty American-born entrepreneurs founded business enterprises in Canada in the period between 1871 and 1914, and 358 “former Americans” were members of the Canadian business élite from 1850 to 1978. Americans tended to be most active in those industries where United States ownership or control was most significant or in industrial development around geographical border regions. More than 40 percent of American businessmen in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were involved in manufacturing, and more than 20 percent in forest products. The most important industries for American involvement were manufacturing and natural resources (forest products, oil and gas, and mining and smelting). The Americans often brought technical knowledge and technology acquired at home to their Canadian activities. Clarence Decatur Howe used his engineering background to set up a firm designing wheat elevators on the prairies before entering federal politics in 1935. Sir William Van Horne brought several decades of specialized managerial experience in the American railway industry to the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Other American businessmen were best known for what became regarded in many quarters as the chief American business characteristic: promotional abilities at the edge of legitimacy. Two American businessmen in Canada in this category in the period before World War I were Francis Hector Clergue and Henry Melville Whitney. Both became notorious as reckless industrial promoters, a style often associated with American entrepreneurs in Canada. Clergue had been born in Bangor, Maine, and had been involved in a variety of entrepreneurial promotions in the United States before coming to Sault Ste Marie at the end of the nineteenth century. Attracted by cheap waterpower, he built a network of industries ranging from pulp and paper to steelmaking (Algoma Steel) at the Sault, financing it with imported American capital aided by government concessions and bounties. He was driven out of this industrial empire by 1909, a victim of his own financial recklessness. Henry Melville Whitney was Cape Breton’s leading industrialist. Unlike Clergue, he was a member of a successful Massachusetts business family, although like Clergue he expanded his Cape Breton activities from an initial investment in a colliery in 1892 to the Dominion Coal Company and then to the Dominion Iron and Steel Company. By 1901 he had been driven out of these enterprises, chiefly by “reckless and extravagant expenditure and miscalculation.” Clergue and Whitney were spectacular and well-publicized successes – and failures. Small wonder that most American businessmen preferred a lower profile.
Besides experiencing considerable American business involvement, Canada also was influenced – often more directly – by the American labour movement. The first labour union to attempt to incorporate large numbers of disparate workers was the Knights of Labor, which came to Canada shortly after its appearance in the United States, although in Canada it was founded by Canadians. The various Canadian unions of the American Federation of Labor also were founded chiefly by Canadian or British-born workers. But a substantial proportion of the workers in the resource industries of Canada, particularly in the western region including British Columbia, were of American origin (probably at least 10 percent). Many of these workers were political radicals with a deep commitment to trade unionism.
Like the farming population of Canada in general, particularly since World War II, American-born farmers have gradually moved out of farming, although they remain more likely to be farmers than either British-born or other foreign-born residents of Canada. Even including the war resisters, the characteristic occupational patterns of American immigrants to Canada since 1930 have been professional and managerial, with a distinct shift to a professional migration beginning in the 1960s. The war resisters may not have already had a professional specialization when they arrived, but many were well educated and acquired Canadian training, which would explain the fact that in the 1981 census, for example, there were five times as many American-born in law and jurisprudence as had migrated during the previous decade with the intention of practising law. By 1971, 41 percent of all American-born professionals in Canada were involved in teaching (including some war resisters), and indeed teaching has been the single most common occupation of the American-born professional since the 1931 census. From the 1960s on, the American immigrant also entered the fields of health care, religion, engineering, and the arts. Women have been well represented among American immigrants active in the teaching profession, especially at the pre-university level, and also in health care. Since the 1921 census, the proportion of all Canadian workers represented by the American-born has declined markedly, from 5.3 percent in 1921 to 1.2 percent in 1981; and, among major nonmanagerial and non-professional economic sectors, farming is the only area with a high U.S.-born percentage. American-born workers are under-represented in the manufacturing, construction, and trade sectors of the economy.
The high concentration of professionals among the American-born residents of Canada, with the peak period of immigration between 1965 and 1974, can be partly explained by the need for external recruitment in expanding sectors of the Canadian economy. Health care and education (especially higher education) grew enormously in Canada in the 1965–74 period. But, while Canadian shortages of trained professionals doubtless explains the demand for Americans, it does not explain the willingness of Americans to come to Canada. To some extent, American professionals responded as Americans always had to Canadian economic opportunities. Seeing the border as an artificial construct, they were willing to come north for better work and to return to the United States when possible. Historian A.R.M. Lower’s observation in 1961 that “Americans live in Canada as transients; they are our technicians and managers, doing a tour of garrison duty in this northern hinterland before returning home” continues to have a certain plausibility, particularly since the transiency rate for the American-born in Canada, always high, has been in recent years more pronounced relative to other foreign-born residents in Canada. Between 1961 and 1981, for example, American-born immigrants represented over 11 percent of immigrating workers but accounted for only 3.4 percent of the gain in the foreign-born labour force. Not only have many Americans returned home in recent years but they have returned home far more frequently than the total immigrant population. Transiency rates have understandably been extremely high among managerial immigrants from the United States. On the other hand, it would be far too simple to see the American immigration solely in Low-er’s terms. While many Americanborn returned to the United States, many others have remained permanently in Canada. It is possible but not provable that many of those settling permanently immigrated to Canada in the first place not solely for economic or vocational reasons.
Americans in Canada have always enjoyed a relatively high socio-economic status, the product of their levels of education, skills, and wealth. In one 1973 study of five groups in Canadian society (Canadian-born of French or other ethnicity, foreign-born of United Kingdom, United States, or other countries), the American-born consistently finished among the highest of the five groups on scales of social origin, education, and occupation, and invariably higher than the Canadian-born in almost all categories.
Apart from the less assimilated minority groups that have come to Canada from the United States (the religious communities, the blacks, the native peoples), the bulk of American immigrants to Canada have operated in terms of the modern nuclear family, with most patterns well within the normal range of behaviour for the larger Canadian and American societies. Occasionally the American-born have anticipated Canadian social trends, but on the whole they have not distinguished themselves in any significant way from the larger society. On the other hand, they have often been quite different from other immigrant groups to Canada. Throughout Canadian history, Americans have been far more likely than other immigrant groups (including the British-born) to immigrate to Canada in family units rather than as single males or females. As might be expected, this fact has meant that the male-female ratio among the American-born has always been better balanced than that of other immigrant groups, although more males than females immigrated from the United States before 1920. Interestingly, more American-born females moved to urban areas than American-born males, but this tendency was not as great as that of Canadian women as a whole, who were always drawn to the cities by economic opportunity.
Before the 1920s the vast bulk of American immigrants to Canada were farmers, committed to the concept of the independent yeoman owning and operating his own family farm. The pronoun “his” is employed deliberately, since the family farm was run on a patriarchal basis: decisions were normally taken by the male head of the household and inheritance passed if possible to the sons, whose labour was so essential to keep the farm going. The family farm was a North American institution based on a gender division of labour and the deferral of expectations. Farmers needed marriage in order to provide children, preferably sons, who would serve as an unpaid labour force. Sons were kept on the farm by promises of future inheritance, and those who could not be offered an inheritance moved on to establish new farms on vacant land. This dynamic was the heart of the westward expansion of the North American frontier. Women cared for the children and engaged in much of the lighter farm labour, such as tending the kitchen garden or the smaller livestock. On many western farms women were able to enjoy their own small income from their share of the farm operation, but in the larger sense they were at the mercy of their husbands. Most farm women had no share of the ownership of the farm, and they were not part of official Canadian employment statistics since they did not technically hold jobs. Women in several western provinces, many of them of American origin, fought to establish the wife’s equal right to family property with very limited success. Despite the frequent argument that western women, as “equal partners in pioneering conditions,” were able to gain more recognition for their contributions than their eastern counterparts, tendencies toward equality seldom extended into the economic sphere, especially in terms of landholding and inheritance. The absence of rural opportunity outside marriage for females helps account for their movement to the cities.
Although American patterns of family and kinship were generally indistinguishable from those of the larger Canadian society, there were a few differences. Americans before 1968 came from a society in which divorce was more common and more acceptable. Americans have also been less likely than members of almost any other national group to marry within it, thus further undermining the already limited nature of their cultural distinctiveness. Probably the most obvious (if undocumentable) characteristic of the bulk of the American-born in Canada has been a commitment to the values of individualism.
The settlement of the New England planters in Nova Scotia and the Loyalists in the loyal colonies of British North America helped establish an Americanized culture in what would become Canada. This culture was quite different from the French-Canadian culture of Quebec or the British culture of those coming from the British Isles.
In architecture, the Loyalists contributed the colonial-style wooden farmhouse and occasional early Georgian mansion to the Maritime landscape; more profoundly, they helped to popularize American housebuilding techniques employing wood-frame construction, something unknown in timber-starved Europe. With respect to language, the Loyalists were partly responsible for solidifying an American-style variant of English in British North America which half a century of massive British immigration between 1815 and 1865 could not erase. Travellers in the years before the War of 1812 frequently commented on the Americanized pronunciation, vocabulary, and usage so commonly found in the British colonies from Nova Scotia to Upper Canada. Meeting one man in Upper Canada in 1792, Patrick Campbell noted, “He answered in a twang peculiar to the New Englanders, ‘I viow nieu you may depn I’s just-a-coming,’ adding to a query about distance, ‘I viow nieu I guess I do’no – I guess nieu I do’no – I swear nieu I guess it is three miles’; he swore, vowed and guessed alternately, and was never like to come to the point, though he had but that instant come from it.”
The question of culture has been an obviously complex one for the American-born and their descendants in Canada. There can be no doubt that there has been and still is an identifiable culture in the United States and that American immigrants to Canada have brought this culture with them. At the same time, Canada has embraced so much of American popular culture that the American-born often do not feel that there is anything culturally distinctive about themselves. Many of the war resisters who came to Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s were struck by the absence of a Canadian culture clearly distinct from the American one and, oddly enough, their calls for Canadian cultural independence were disparaged by Canadians for being “Americaninspired.” Canadians watch the same television programs, cheer for most of the same sports teams, and eat at the same fast-food restaurants. Among young Canadians, the regalia of American sports teams – T-shirts, sweatshirts, varsity jackets – is currently as fashionable (or even more so) than it is south of the border.
The vast bulk of the American-born in Canada have always spoken English, although according to the 1931 census 12.6 percent of the American-born (mainly the children of French-Canadians) spoke both English and French, and, according to R.H. Coats and M.C. MacLean, “only 68.72 p.c. [percent] of the Americanborn in 1931 spoke English as mother tongue and 13.72 spoke French, while 17.56 p.c. spoke other than English or French.” Mother tongues other than English were then quite common in rural Manitoba and rural Saskatchewan. In recent years, however, English has increasingly been the mother tongue of the American-born, even of those of French-Canadian ancestry. Moreover, the homogenization of pronunciation across North America has tended to reduce the distinctiveness of the accents of the American-born.
The commercialization through American popular culture of various aspects of American folk culture has meant that the folk culture has tended to lose its meaning both at home and abroad. Characteristic American gastronomy such as “Kentucky Fried Chicken” and “Big Macs,” have become the standard fare of fast-food chains on both sides of the border. American folk songs, including Woody Guthrie’s patriotic “This Land Is Your Land,” have been given Canadian lyrics. Because of the extent of cross-border exchange in settlement of the North American west, the identifiably distinctive costume, dance, and music of the “cowboy” have never really been solely the property of the United States or of Americans. Western garb (boots, jeans, cowboy hats) is commonly worn by western Canadians of all ethnic backgrounds, and one of the homes of “country and western music” has been the Atlantic region of Canada. American folk culture has not disappeared so much as it has been transformed into North American popular culture and disseminated by a media that pays little attention to the border. Finally, given the size of the immigrant group and the length of its history, Americans in Canada have produced surprisingly little self-conscious ethnic scholarship about their history or development.
Although there are some geographical, social, and occupational patterns for the American-born in Canada, their most common characteristic is to blend as much as possible into the host society. This blending is possible because of the relatively narrow cultural gap between the United States and Canada, the ubiquity of things American, and the proximity of the United States border to most people resident in Canada. The Americans are thus an ethnic group without an easily definable identity. They do not establish distinctive organizations or associations, since most of their most familiar associations have Canadian chapters or branches (usually described as “international”). In the 1920s one of the most distinctive American organizations – the Ku Klux Klan – was brought to Canada by American promoters as the “Ku Klux Klan of the British Empire,” converted into an imperial organization for Canadian consumption.
The American-born may have consumer and leisure preferences that are subtly different from those of Canadians – baseball is preferred to hockey, for example – but they can normally be served within the Canadian milieu without standing out as different. The majority of consumer goods available in the United States can also be obtained in Canada, either manufactured by Canadian branch plants or imported, and for the occasional item not usually available, substitutes can be found or the item purchased after a short excursion across the border. There is no shortage of American news in Canada, with American television, American newspapers, and journals easily imported and generally sold. In short, there is no need to organize an “American community” in Canada in order to “feel at home.” The American is quite able to maintain his or her traditional lifestyle or culture in Canada without any demonstrable effort.
Americans in Canada have been a relatively well-educated population, with a positive commitment to schooling and especially to the public school system. Illiteracy among the American-born has been generally low, although higher than among the British-born, a fact that Coats and MacLean attributed to the presence among the American-born of those recently arrived from European countries with high illiteracy rates. Certainly in recent years American-born immigrants to Canada have been extremely well educated; for the most part, they have entered highly skilled and professional occupations. In Canada, the American-born outside the separatist religious communities have felt no need for supplementary programs to maintain their ethnic preference. They may marginally (in comparison with the overall Canadian population) have preferred American universities for the education of their children, but most who have remained in Canada have used the Canadian educational system. There are few regional differences among the American-born in terms of education, and women have not for many years been disadvantaged. Indeed, American-born farmers shared the tendency of other people in rural areas to permit female offspring higher levels of education than that accorded to males (the labour of girls was not as important to the farm economy as that of boys, and they would have to make their own way in the world if they did not marry).
In terms of religious life, the New England “Yankees” and the Loyalists brought an evangelical propensity to the Maritimes and assisted the emergence of several new denominations, particularly the Baptists and the Methodists, everywhere in British North America. One group in particular, the Loyalist blacks in Nova Scotia, were responsible for an extraordinary outburst of Christian revivalism that involved both white and black itinerant preachers. Had the early black Loyalists remained in large numbers, their churches might well have become the basis for a powerful Afro-Canadian culture, as happened in the United States after emancipation.
In the period between the end of the Revolutionary War and the mid-nineteenth century, Americans helped support evangelical Protestantism throughout British North America. Their efforts in this regard had a high degree of success, partly because the American-born constituted a relatively large proportion of the colonies’ total population. Yet the American concept of the high wall of separation between church and state – a creation of the revolutionary experience – never gained widespread acceptance in Canada. Different attitudes towards the relationship of church and state continue to distinguish Canadian churches from their American counterparts.
Since the 1840s American-born immigrants have joined Canadian branches of Protestant denominations rather than bringing their own organizations with them. Even among religious communities such as the Mennonites, Canadian-based church organization has prevailed. Perhaps the Mormons and the Christian Scientists are the major exceptions to this rule, the former still retaining a close connection with the mother church in Salt Lake City and the latter with the mother church in Boston. In western Canada, American Protestants may have influenced Canadian church organization in subtle ways, since they were perhaps more willing than other newcomers to merge denominations at the local level. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than 27 percent of the American-born in Canada in 1931 were members of the newly organized United Church of Canada, constructed out of the former Congregational, Methodist, and most Presbyterian congregations in the 1920s. Clergy have always moved back and forth across the border, and in recent years American-born clergy (Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish) have been an important part of the American immigration to Canada. American Catholicism has always been extremely liberal by European or French-Canadian standards, and, aided by the American-born, it has influenced Canadian Catholicism in strongly anglophone areas.
Since the 1840s religion has not been an important ethnic consideration for most Americans. While for Mormons and Mennonites their church relationship is intimately bound up with their identities, most American-born have been quite willing to fit their religious beliefs and worship within prevailing Canadian denominations and standards, maintaining the same low and almost invisible profile that they exhibit in so many other areas of everyday life.
By 1784 the combination of the American peace and Loyalist resettlement had completely remade the political structure of British North America. A first round of imperial reorganization took place that year. Cape Breton was recognized as a separate colony, and both it and St John’s Island were put under the authority of the governor of Nova Scotia. Controversy between Loyalist newcomers and the government of Nova Scotia resulted in the creation of New Brunswick as a separate colony, one that Loyalists could dominate. The division of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada was still a few years away but was already prefigured by the extent of Loyalist settlement west of the St Lawrence River.
The Loyalist presence remade the political life of British North America as well. The Loyalists brought with them American political experience and rhetoric. They were firmly committed to representative government and colonial constitutional practices. They believed in order, hierarchy, and authority, but they were also committed to the “rights” of life, liberty, and property and had sufficient political experience to make their opinions felt. On the other hand, the subtle changes in the status of women brought about by the Revolution probably did not come to British North America, where patriarchy continued to reign supreme.
The American-born were actively involved in politics in the period of early settlement, especially in New Brunswick and Upper Canada. American-born Loyalists held most of the important appointed offices in the first New Brunswick governments and were frequently elected to the provincial assembly. In early Upper Canada, the American-born were not prominent among official appointments, but they were extremely active politically, often in opposition to those officials. Despite the wave of anti-Americanism in Upper Canada after the War of 1812, post-Loyalist Americans actually represented 14.1 percent of the members of the House of Assembly in Upper Canada in the period 1830–41 – not an insignificant figure since the American-born constituted only 6.7 percent of the overall population of the province in 1842. At the same time, in relation to their total numbers, the American-born by the 1830s held a low proportion of high-status appointments.
On the west coast, the influx of American miners from California in the 1850s produced a substantial political response from the colonial authorities. In the gold-fields of British Columbia, as in California and Australia, the major problems revolved around policing. The miners themselves quickly established informal legal institutions to deal with their particular needs, as they had elsewhere, and it was felt necessary to bring these under government control as rapidly as possible. Thus Governor James Douglas of Vancouver Island unilaterally extended British authority onto the mainland in 1857, and the colony of British Columbia was officially established by the British government in November 1858, largely because of concern that the American miners would otherwise set up their own institutions of government and, following previous patterns, demand annexation to the United States.
Historically, Americans have on the whole been less active in Canadian politics than their numbers might indicate, at least partly because of anti-Americanism on the part of Canadians, but also because until very recently Americans (at least theoretically) would automatically forfeit their citizenship if they voted in foreign elections or ran for public office. Americans were significantly under-represented in prairie provincial and federal politics, for example, despite the number of American-born agrarian populists active in the west, especially in Alberta. Even in Alberta, only about 10 percent of legislators between 1905 and 1967 were American-born, more than half of these belonging to the Social Credit Party. But very few of these legislators had migrated to Canada as adults. At the same time, the American-born were quite active at local levels of government and in the politics of voluntary organizations. Nevertheless, virtually the only well-known Canadian politician of this century who was American-born was Clarence Decatur Howe, who had migrated to Canada as an adult. As minister of transport, Howe created Trans-Canada Airlines in 1936. During World War II he was minister of munitions and supply, and after 1945 he served as minister of trade and commerce.
Despite their relatively low political profile, Americans did have a profound effect on prairie populism. There were a number of varieties of prairie populism in Canada with no common or distinctive intellectual content. Agrarian democratic populism was a style and an attitude, rather than a precise ideology, and it was not uniquely American in origin, since elements can be found in indigenous Canadian and in British developments as well. Nevertheless, American farmers immigrating to Canada brought with them both an agrarian political experience and a variety of institutional expressions of that experience. Almost every farmers’ movement existing in the United States was imported into Canada, ranging from grain growers’ organizations to cooperative associations. Political manifestations of American populism included calls for “direct legislation” – a concept that encompassed referenda and the right of voters both to initiate laws and to recall (and dismiss) elected representatives – and battles against the protective tariff, monopolies, and government corruption and extravagance. American farmers in Canada, like the agricultural sector as a whole, supported cooperation, free or freer trade, and some measure of local control over the operations of government. Some American farmers were also in favour of equal rights for women as part of a general package of reform. Though the American newcomers may not have been solely responsible for the many strands of populist democratic thought, their experience with and sympathy for agrarian democracy helped ensure that it would predominate in the prairie provinces between 1910 and 1945.
As well as influencing populism, American political ideology also had a substantial impact on Canadian radical thinking in the early years of the twentieth century. Many of the radical ideas of this period had been spawned in the mountain states and in California. Americans led in the extension into Canada of traditional American trade unions as well as in the development of the Western Federation of Miners and the Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”), both militant and radical. The industrial syndicalism of the “Wobblies” was peculiarly American in its philosophy and its leadership, and leading IWW organizers such as Big Bill Haywood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and Joe Hill spent much time in Canada agitating among the workers. The ease with which labour radicals were crossing the Canadian-American border was one of the many reasons why border-crossing surveillance and procedures were tightened up in the early years of the twentieth century.
Probably the most important former American in British Columbia was E.T. Kingsley, who had lost both legs in a California industrial accident and for many years ran the Socialist Party of Canada. His career demonstrates that, on the Canadian frontier, American radicalism merged with European and British traditions. For example, “impossiblism,” the notion that not only was capitalism unreformable but attempting to achieve reform would divert the worker from the class struggle, came partly from Marx, partly from the British Socialist Democratic Federation, partly from frontier working conditions, and partly from E.T. Kingsley’s American background.
Americans in Canada have experienced some degree of hostility, ranging from subtle suspicion to outright prejudice. Some of the hostility has come from British newcomers who found American cultural values in newly settled districts different from their own, while more has come from native-born Canadians whose suspicion of the territorial and imperial pretensions of the United States has extended to its citizens. In many cases cultural and political suspicion have been inextricably mixed and combined with senses of Canadian dependency and insecurity relative to the United States. Unlike most immigrants to Canada, who are allowed to become fully committed Canadian citizens upon naturalization, the American immigrant is often unable to escape a residual Canadian belief that his or her naturalization somehow cannot ever overcome American origins. Naturalized Americans are thus less frequently referred to as “new Canadians” than as “ex-Americans.” In its most extreme form, Canadian suspicion of the United States has led to outbreaks of overt anti-Americanism, usually spilling over against Americans resident in Canada. Expressions of Canadian anti-Americanism directed against the United States are not quite identical with expressions of Canadian hostility towards Americans in Canada, but there is usually some ultimate connection.
The first such outbreak of anti-Americanism came in the early years of the nineteenth century in Upper Canada, where, as we have seen, thousands of “late Loyalist” or “post-Loyalist” settlers born in the American colonies or the United States arrived between 1790 and 1810. The Upper Canadian élite were bothered by the political principles of the new American settlers, who were said to exhibit “a spirit of Democracy,” “Republican principles,” and “ideas of equality & insubordination.” Some of the hostility to the Americans was cultural, but most was political. It was feared that they would be of “doubtful loyalty” if an American war (and invasion of Upper Canada) occurred.
With the declaration of war by the United States upon Great Britain on 18 June 1812, the American residents of Upper Canada – like most resident aliens associated with an enemy power in any war – were caught in the middle. An American army under General Isaac Hull invaded Upper Canada only a few weeks later, and a considerable number of American-born inhabitants in the western district joined the invasion. Many other Americans, claiming neutrality, refused to join militia units to fight the invaders; other Americans in the Niagara area behaved similarly when American troops crossed the border near Fort Niagara. Over the next few years, there was considerable evidence of what historian Gerald Craig described as “disaffection, treason, or neutralism” on the part of American settlers in Upper Canada, although whether they merited the treatment they received is another matter. Official attitudes surfaced at the trials at Ancaster in 1814 of nineteen persons for high treason; eight were executed and ultimately thirty had judgments of outlawry entered against them.
Although the bulk of Americans resident in Canada had supported the British cause (many of those who did not fled back across the border), the élite of the province ended the war convinced that American “republicanism” must be suppressed if they were to avoid another war with a “powerful and treacherous” enemy. The government of Upper Canada simultaneously pressed for British immigration and struggled to suppress the resumption of an American influx; the lieutenant governor refused to permit the administration of the oath of allegiance to Americans (which prevented their receiving land titles and made them liable for prosecution under sedition acts); the provincial assembly voted in 1816 to punish residents who had spent the war years in the United States and had returned to Upper Canada; and the province refused to make land allotments to the children of Loyalists unless they could prove that both they and their parents had remained loyal during the late war. Then in 1817 Colonial Secretary Lord Bathurst informed the Upper Canadian government that immigrants arriving from the United States were to be treated as aliens until properly naturalized, an instruction which Attorney General John Beverley Robinson interpreted to mean that all American immigrants were aliens. Thus began what has become known as the “Alien Question.” It kept Upper Canada in an uproar until 1827, when the matter was resolved in favour of the American settlers.
This effort legally to eliminate, in effect, most Americans from Upper Canada was an early example of the increasingly prevalent “Loyalist” mentality of nineteenth-century Ontario, which rested on a Messianic vision of the province’s role as an outpost of the British Empire. The sheer virulence of the persecution of Americans after 1815 may well have encouraged in them a sense of community that had not previously existed. But it also served as a substantial barrier to the continued arrival of new American settlers in Upper Canada. Why come to Canada to be marginalized when plenty of good land was on offer in the mid-western states?
After confederation, anti-Americanism was too important a component of both the historic and the newly emergent Canadian identity to disappear. It would resurface in times of economic crisis – as in the later 1870s, when Canada countered American protectionism with tariffs of her own, or in 1911, when Canadians rejected a reciprocity treaty with the United States. Similarly, many Canadians were concerned about the effects upon Canada of the “Americanization” of the west. “The North-West will be American,” prophesied man-of-letters Goldwin Smith in 1903. Smith was a continentalist who did not find the prospect he envisioned particularly frightening, but others did. One Manitoba writer observed in 1909, “The great majority of these American settlers are good citizens but they . . . are first, last and always, Americans.” Canadian immigration official William Duncan Scott in 1914 dismissed such concerns as silly, adding that, if Americanization “means that the progressiveness of the American will be copied by the Canadian, the more rapid Americanization the better.” The very quality admired in the Americans by Canadian immigration officials – their experience with North American agricultural and climatic conditions – often invoked negative responses in some quarters. While Scott insisted that “the people from the United States most readily adapt themselves to Canadian conditions,” British journalist Howard Angus Kennedy countered that the American farmer’s “power of screwing the last ounce of wheat out of his land and the last cent out of his wheat is undoubted; but there his life begins and ends. He may not be a rowdy; but his moral qualities are merely negative. He is a human farming-machine.”
Another round of anti-Americanism occurred in Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Much of Canadian hostility was directed against the government of the United States for its policies in Vietnam, but there were other factors as well. The era was one of rising Canadian nationalism, which always expressed itself in a process of distancing from the United States. One of the major public debates was over American investment (or “ownership”) in Canada. Another concerned the prominence of Americans in the Canadian university system, especially key social science disciplines such as economics, political studies, and sociology. The simultaneous lack of knowledge about Canada on the part of the major American academic organizations did not help in the controversy, since many American groups had difficulty accepting that Canada was, indeed, a foreign country.
As has already been noted, Americans in Canada are not very self-conscious about their identity, and many have learned over time to keep to themselves any American enthusiasms they might have. What dominates American ethnicity in Canada is the powerful omnipresence of the United States in Canadian society and culture, rendering the need for an ethnic lobby or press unnecessary in order to maintain an American presence. Americans who wish to sojourn in Canada can do so with ease, sacrificing very little in the process of living “abroad.” At the same time, the relatively low involvement of naturalized ex-Americans in Canadian politics probably suggests a process of prudence meeting subtle discrimination. The rates of naturalization of American immigrants have usually compared favourably with those of other immigrant groups, except between 1961 and 1981, and rates of transience have often been greatly exaggerated. Overstatements of American transiency have occurred partly because they ideally suited Canadian preconceptions, and partly because of inadequate statistical information and analysis. We have in the past overestimated the proportion of American-born among immigrants from the United States, and we have also failed to compare American figures with those of other foreign nationals in Canada. In any event, it is difficult to think of another group in Canada in the particular and peculiar situation of Americans.
A solid history of the United States is Hugh Brogan, Longman History of the United States of America (London, 1985). The only good recent study of the Americans in Canada is David D. Harvey, Americans in Canada: Migration and Settlement since 1840 (Lewiston, N.Y., 1991).
On the pre-Loyalists, see J.B. Brebner, The Neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia: A Marginal Colony during the Revolutionary Years (1937; repr. Toronto, 1969); George Rawlyk, Nova Scotia’s Massachusetts: A Study of Massachusetts–Nova Scotia Relations, 1630 to 1784 (Montreal, 1973); J.M. Bumsted, Henry Alline, 1748–1784 (Toronto, 1971); Margaret Conrad, ed., Making Adjustments: Change and Continuity in Planter Nova Scotia, 1749–1800 (Fredericton, 1991). For the Loyalists, see Janice Potter-MacKinnon, While the Women Only Wept: Loyalist Refugee Women (Montreal, 1993); Neil MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil: The Loyalist Experience in Nova Scotia, 1783– 1791 (Montreal, 1986); J.M. Bumsted, Understanding the Loyalists (Sackville, N.B., 1986); James Walker, The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783–1870 (Halifax, 1976); Wallace Brown, The King’s Friends: The Composition and Motives of the American Loyalist Claimants (Providence, R.I., 1965). On the late Loyalists, Fred Landon, Western Ontario and the American Frontier (Toronto, 1967), is valuable. The War of 1812 can be followed in Morris Zaslow, ed., The Defended Border: Upper Canada and the War of 1812 (Toronto, 1964).
For the Underground Railway, see Robin W. Winks, The Blacks in Canada: A History (Montreal, 1971). The American settlement of the Canadian west is treated in
Paul Sharp, Whoop-up Country: The Canadian-American West, 1865–1885 (Minneapolis, Minn., 1955); Paul Sharp, The Agrarian Revolt in Western Canada: A Survey Showing American Parallels (Minneapolis, 1948); Karel Bicha, The American Farmer and the Canadian West, 1896–1914 (Lawrence, Kans., 1968); Harold Martin Troper, Only Farmers Need Apply: Official Canadian Government Encouragement of Immigration from the United States, 1896–1911 (Toronto, 1972), which includes a section on the blacks; and David Laycock, Populism and Democratic Thought in the Canadian Prairies, 1910 to 1945 (Toronto, 1990).
On religious groups, the following are useful: Brigham Y. Card et al., eds., The Mormon Presence in Canada (Edmonton, Alta, 1990); Frank H. Epp, The Mennonites in Canada, 1786–1920: The History of a Separate People (Toronto, 1974); and Victor Peters, All Things Common: The Hutterian Way of Life (Minneapolis, 1965). The role of American businessmen is examined in Duncan McDowall, Steel at the Sault: Francis H. Clergue, Sir James Dunn, and the Algoma Steel Corporation, 1901– 1956 (Toronto, 1984). For American labour radicalism, consult A. Ross MacCormack, Reformers, Rebels, and Revolutionaries: The Western Canadian Radical Movement, 1899–1919 (Toronto, 1977).
The 1930s produced two of the most detailed studies of Americans in Canada as part of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace series on “the relations of the United States and Canada.” Marcus Lee Hansen’sThe Mingling of the Canadian and American People (completed by J.B. Brebner, New Haven, Conn.) appeared in 1940, and R.H. Coats and M.C. MacLean published The American-born in Canada: A Statistical Interpretation (Toronto) in 1943. Both works tend to downplay distinctive differences among the American immigrants or between Americans and Canadians. This spirit of continental entente was characteristic not only of the Carnegie series but of Canadian-American relations for the period, particularly after the beginning of World War II. Both books stress the facility of interchange of population from one country to another to the exclusion of other themes and factors.
For the Vietnam War draft resisters, see Renée Kasinsky, Refugees from Militarism: Draft-Age Americans in Canada (New Brunswick, N.J., 1976), and David S. Surrey, “The Assimilation of Vietnam Era Draft Dodgers and Deserters into Canada: A Matter of Class” (PhD thesis, New School for Social Research, New York City, 1980). On recent American immigration to Canada, consult Monica Boyd, “The American Emigrant in Canada: Trends and Consequences,” International Migration Review, vol.15 (1979), 650–70.