The Earl of Durham

It was not fully appreciated at the time, but the Earl of Durham had inadvertently provided a blue print for representative government for settler communities around the Empire. He believed that he was dealing with the specific problems of rebellions in Lower and Upper Canada and was not even convinced that he succeeded in sorting those problems out. He was putting some of the utilitarian ideas of the 1830s into operation and they eventually succeeded to a remarkable degree. He effectively devolved power to an elected assembly and reduced the role of governor to that of a figurehead. It was effectively putting in place a parliamentary system into a colonial context. Other settler societies liked this precedent so much that they eagerly requested their own versions of it for their colonies also.

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by Stephen Luscombe