Louis Riel Essay

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On October 23, 1844, in Red River Manitoba, Louis Riel Sr and Julie Lagimodiere, devout Christians, brought a young Métis boy into the world. Little did they know, Louis Riel Jr. would grow up to become known to many as “the founder of Manitoba.” His life was filled with excitement, both political and personal. The question is, were his actions against the government acts of honor and truth, or deception and lies?

     Riel Jr.’s political adventures did not begin until he was 25. On November 23, 1869, Riel proposed the formation of a provincial government to replace the Council of Assiniboia because he did not believe that they were not doing their jobs well enough to improve the dull life in Red River. On
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Riel, caught up in the battle, condemned a man named Thomas Scott as a traitor to the provincial government and shot him. This action enraged the anti-Catholic and anti-French communities. In addition, Riel was elected into the Canadian House of Commons in 1873-74 but was denied his seat. He was pardoned in 1875 on the condition he would leave Canada. Both these incidents influenced Riel to go to the United States, where he taught in Montana at a Jesuit Mission, before being asked by the Métis to present their grievances to the Canadian Government and be their leader once more.

     In 1885, another rebellion commenced. The Métis had moved to Saskatchewan and began to fear they would lose their land to new settlers. Riel helped the Métis build a stronger, newer provincial government, which resulted in fighting. Government troops eventually defeated the Métis and Riel soon surrendered to the government. Riel’s trial was an interesting one. Riel’s defense lawyer beseeched him to plead insanity, but Riel proudly refused.
“Your Honors, gentlemen of the jury: It would be easy for me to-day to play insanity, because the circumstances are such as to excite any man, and under the natural excitement of what is taking place to-day (I cannot speak English very well, but am trying to do so, because most of those here speak English), under the excitement which my trial causes me would justify me
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