Some historians have argued that the women in the New France were at a privileged position and played a significant and recognized role in the society. Light, B (1980) pointed out women had a better position in the society when compared with their counterparts in other societies. (222)This might have been an assumption for every outsider or a person who observed from a distance. Looking closer at what happened within this society one will appreciate that women were as underprivileged just like other women in other regions. They were just as burdened and subordinated like all other during this period.
The type of special position can not be described as privileged but rather different from other society. Historians have taken a general description of this society without taking consideration of what the majority were going through. Whatever was going on a round their world can not be described as special. The notion that women were treated special in this community emanates from the kind of treatment accorded to upper class women who were considered elite due to the position occupied by their husbands who were wealthy and commanded maximum respect and status in the colony.
The lower and the middle class women can not be said to have lived off the so called honored position in the society . Although it was their role to sit in the house and take care of the family women had a lot to do as far as running the domestic affairs was concerned. While their husbands and brothers were away they were charged with the role of taking care of the men’s duty. (Light, B and Prentice, A 1980 87) The notion that the women in the New France were privileged lot could have also emanated from the fact that most of the women were educated compared to their counterparts in other societies.
They could have played the same role as men but this does not mean that they were superior; they were still subjected to the kind of life that every other woman in the other societies went through. They were subordinate to men and were considered the inferior members of the society. Women at times were given some roles to play in the matters pertaining to political decisions and military but in most cases men were in charge of the overall running of these affairs. (Podruchny, C. 2006 45)
Just like any other society women in the New France were overworked ,the difference only comes due to the fact that they enjoyed some form of respect for the role they palyed. This was never the case in many other places. Here women were recognized for the role they played in upbringing of the families, educating the children and other role they played as far as the society was concerned. This must have been all that these people enjoyed since they were still subjected to ridicule and other vices which were common in the society.
In the real sense of the matter this can not be described as a privileged situation for the female members of this society. (Stasilulis, D and Niva, D. 1995 103) Touching on their reproductive roles women were seen as babies producing machines, they were expected to give birth from a very young age up to the time they reach menopause. They were expected to give birth every two years the same people were expected to take care of these large families which could have as more as twelve children in one nuclear family.
At the same time they were supposed to take up men’s role while they were away on other duties. This put the woman in a very awkward position as she had to balance the various roles she was supposed to play as far as family life was concerned. The played double role, being the mother and also taking up father’s position when of the husband was away. This was a very taxing task for these people; it drained their energies leaving them an exploited lot by the same society they were busy taking care in the large part of their lives. (Stasilulis, D and Niva, D. 1995 123)
It might be true that they enjoyed a better position than most of the other women at this period but that can not be used as a general statement to depict the fact that women in New France were privileged. Women had a lot to do such that by the end of the day they were left exhausted and still tomorrow waited for the same people to perform the same task with the same zeal as they did yesterday. The only advantage they had was the fact that they were respected for the role they played in the society, perhaps this is what makes all the difference especially when it is looked on an outsider’s perspective.
In the Aboriginal societies women played a key role within the family and also within the aboriginal government. They were also key players when it came to religious ceremonies. A lot of negative materials has been posted depicting this society as harsh towards the womenfolk but contrary to this woman held a very integral part in this society. Most of the clans were matriarchal where women were the head of the clans. There are very few societies where women were accorded such privileges through having a leadership forum.
The fact that Aboriginal society women were accorded much respect within the society can be disputed by many just the same as the role played by the women in the New France society. (Kelm, M and Townsend, L. 2006 34) Women are said to have enjoyed personal autonomy just like their men counterpart. They participated in the important activities in the community. Women were responsible for all the domestic activities just like their counterparts in other societies. They were the life givers as well as caretakers as far as the families were concerned. They were charged with the roles of socialization of children from a very early age.
Husbands were expected to honor their wives, they were usually honored for their visions and wisdom they portrayed as far as managing the affairs of the community were concerned. Men were expected to show respect for their wives through giving gifts which were often believed to have come from the creator. All this shows that women had a special place in the society perhaps a better position than their counterparts in the New French society where women could not be said to have occupied an integral part of the society. In the 1800s century woman had gained more ground than in the previous periods.
She had participated in the wars just like their male counterpart, they were gaining ground as far as autonomy and full recognition was concerned. Women occupied a better position than their earlier counterparts, they have been engaging and continued to participate in roles which were male dominated. As time went by women were gaining more power. They were now being recruited to fight in battles. Although they were not given the same duties as men it was now evident that an age was coming where women will be fully free to compete on equal basis as men.
Work Cited Light, B and Prentice, A. Pioneer and Gentlewomen of British of British North America, New Hog town Press (1980) Kelm, M and Townsend, L. In the Days of Our Grandmothers, University of Toronto Press (2006) Stasilulis, D and Niva, D. Unsettling Settlers Society, Sage (1995) Podruchny, C. Making the Voyager World, University of Nebraska.
Were political factors the main cause of the tensions between elites and reformers that afflicted British North America between 1837 and 1838 The conflict between the elites and reformers has largely been described as the Rebellion of 1837; this is because it broke out at around this year. Towards the end of this year an armed struggle broke out in both regions of Canada at this time the lower and Upper Canada. The causes of this conflict I both regions were the same. Politics may have been the major factors but other factors such as economic and social also precipitated this armed struggle. The constitution dispensation was the origin of this conflict, the act of 1791 gave power to the executive creating a centre of power which could not be controlled by the legislature.
In each of the provinces there was created a legislative body which had very little influence as far as legislation was concerned. For any bill to be passed it had to be assented by the crown, the assembly therefore had very limited powers. The executive council was an appointment of the crown and the assembly had no control over its activities. The constitution issue by and large gave birth to problems that led to this rebellion as there are those who wanted the status quo to prevail these were the elites who were benefiting from the current political dispensation.
On the other hand there were those who felt that the system was retrogressive and oppressive at the same time and some radical changes were needed. (Mc Nairn, 2004 87) In both regions the governing role was in the hands of the crown, something which made the majority fell out of touch with the government. There was a general feeling that the rulers did not represent the wishes of the people. In the Upper Canada the ruling class which was known as the Family Compact while in the lower part it was known as Chateau Clique. The ruling elites in both colonies usually included the wealth people.
They tended to isolate themselves from the rest of the population through marrying within themselves and also sharing the same religious affinities and also through supporting each other politically. This situation led to alienation of the large population as far as power was concerned, they became dissatisfied with the system and eventually had to rebel as a show of their discontentment within the current political dispensation. (Deconde, A 1978 138) Religion was a major influence in the affairs of the state at a round this period.
As a factor it also contributed to some extent as far as this rebellion is concerned. In the Upper Canada the Family Compact identified closely with the Church of England, this brought the issue of religion in the picture. The adherents of this church within the region were not many but its association with the ruling class did not auger well with the majority as they were not comfortable with the church standings as far as issues were concerned. This made the picture of religion to be reflected in this revolt.
The distribution of land to the Anglican Church did not go well with some sections of the society as they felt that the ruling class was using unorthodox means to solicit support from some quarter. This angered the Methodist and other religious sect, they were not happy with this form of unfair practice being propagated by the elites as it was tantamount to favoring one group at the expense of the others. The issue of running the school also rose as there was no agreement as to which protestant denomination should be charged with the role of running the school.
There was a general feeling that the ruling elites were only interested at strengthening their position within the colony and at the same time enrich themselves at the expense of the larger population. They could not be entrusted with the role of running the schools since they were not interested in benefiting the public. This brought the issue of church run schools within the colony but the problem was that some churches were benefiting from the current political dispensation hence the disagreement among themselves as afar as this issue was concerned.
Ethnic tensions also played a role in this rebellion, in the Upper Canada the issue of aliens arose when the compact questioned the fact that property ownership should be extended to those who were considered as former United States citizens. Though this can largely be viewed as economic the issue here was for the elites to bar those who were considered as aliens from holding power or owning property in the region. This was a selfish motive as the elites were only aiming at benefiting themselves while locking those whom they felt as a threat to them.
The racial issue also took a centre stage especially in the lower Canada where the assembly was dominated by the French speaking people while the executive arm of the government was predominately English speaking. It was an affair where two nations were fighting for a single state. In Lower Canada linguistic divisions were clearer. The French speaking who were predominately catholic who were of the notion that their English speaking who were mainly protestant were out to destroy their way of lives.
They hated the increase of non French speaking people from other regions coming to the region. The immigrants from French at one time rioted when the other immigrants brought in diseases. This tension could be largely attributed to mistrust that existed between the groups coupled with the religion factor. This tension and hatred later precipitated to a conflict that can be directly attributed to the rebellion between the year 1837 and 1838.
The conflict was also ignited by the economic reasons, the ruling class had sidelined the masses such that they felt left out as far as economic empowerment was concerned. When a people in a given society are sidelined and not given a space to express themselves in terms of economic empowerment they are bound to make their way. This is the same thing that happened in British North America where the masses had been exploited and left in a poor state, they were just making their voices to be hard through rebellion the system (Burrough, P 1969 128)
The rebellion in this part of the world was not caused by political reasons alone there are other factors as we have seen that precipitated this rebellion. Just like any other uprising in the world this conflict took several shapes and the out come was not predictable. A s we seen earlier, religion was let to play its course but through favoring one of them at the expense of the others rubbed the majority in the wrong way giving way to resentment which was coupled by other factors which are not religious in nature.
Ethnic tensions also contributed to the misgivings that were observed within the two groups that existed in this colony. The two sides had their own reasons for disliking the other. There existed competition between the two sides something which bred this conflict. The rebellion had an economic connotation and can therefore be described as a conflict which touched on many aspect that were afflicting the society, therefore politics was just one of the many factors that caused this rebellion although it played the major role.