Constitution Act of Canada

(1867)

Impact

The Constitution Act of 1867 was the final step in a century-long process of unifying Britain's remaining North American colonies into an autonomous, self-governing nation. Over the course of the next century, numerous acts titled British North America Act, each with a date appended, continued the process of settling Canada's relationship with Great Britain and of amending the original act. Interestingly, the delegates to the various conferences that forged the Constitution Act wrestled with the question of what to call Canada. They readily agreed on “Canada,” but they debated whether to call it the “Federation of Canada” or the “Kingdom of Canada.” John Macdonald argued for “kingdom” and wanted the new nation to retain features of a monarchical form of government. He argued that the presidential system of the United States was unsuitable for Canada, for it failed to provide an ongoing unifying figure in the nation's culture and politics. Many of the delegates,...

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John A. Macdonald (Library of Congress)

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