British Businessmen and the Canadian Confederation

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The importance of British investors to the actualization of Canadian confederation in 1867 has been interpreted and analyzed by Andrew Smith in his detailed book “British Businessmen and Canadian Confederation”. Throughout this book, Andrew Smith explains how British businessmen and other factors influenced the decision to accept confederation.
During the 1840’s, Britain made a drastic shift to free trade and announced that it would no longer be favouring their colonies in trade, which in turn brought up various separatist ideas within the British colonies. British imperialism had a sole goal to obtain raw materials, and to obtain markets for British manufacturers. However, the trading statistics between British North America and Britain were rather weak. In relation to the total amount of imports and exports, only 2.74% of British exports went to British North America, while 3.3% of imports to Britain were from British North America. As we can see, British manufacturers saw the validity behind the idea of “little England”, which was due their concern over Britain paying taxes to a colony which did not provide much back, in terms of trade. Also, British manufacturers believed that if BNA became independent it would eventually become absorbed by the United States, which was Britain’s strongest overseas customer. Thus, Britain would not have to support British North America as its colony, and still receives its benefits in trade.
The Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada
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