Back to current issue

Canadians' Consternation: Irish Immigration, Competition, and Canada's Relationship to the United States and the British Empire in the 1840s

Jonathan Keljik (George Washington University)

This article explores how Canadians' concerns with enumerating immigrants in the 1840s led to competition with the United States, which Canadians ultimately lost. Canadians reacted to the influx of diseased and indigent Irish immigrants in 1847 by pushing for stricter immigration policies, leading more immigrants to choose direct passage to the United States. The decisive shift in numbers caused Canada to become the loser in the immigration contest with its southern neighbour. This article demonstrates why Canadians were counting immigrants and what Canadian reactions to Irish immigration tell us about perceptions of success or failure with attracting immigrant settlers to the new world in the nineteenth century.

Full text: PDF

ISSN 1753-5794