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Was Canadian conscription in World War I justified?

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Introduction

A. Plan of Investigation Was Canadian conscription in World War I justified? Many people have addressed the issue of Canadian conscription in World War I and debated back and forth as to the justification and necessity of it at the time. The purpose of this internal assessment is to determine whether instituting conscription was a valid decision through an investigation of the different groups affected and their points of views. To do this, I will use a variety of sources and my own knowledge to look at both sides of the argument and come up with a valid conclusion. In section B, I will examine different viewpoints and their reasons for and against conscription. In section C, I will evaluate two sources that have very different views as to whether conscription was the right thing to do. In section D, I will analyse the effect of conscription on the population of Canada, how historians view the issue, and its significance in Canadian history. In section E, I will make a final statement and then give my reasons for it. It is my opinion that conscription was unjustified as it infringed on basic rights, and divided the country as it had never been divided before. B. ...read more.

Middle

Its main value is that it is a primary source written by someone who lived during the war and fought conscription himself, and therefore the information is a first-hand account. Its limitations are that it only gives one side of the argument about conscription, and it was written around 17 years after the war, and therefore the information may be embellished or changed. D. Analysis The evidence against conscription far outweighs the evidence for it. This section will analyse what effect conscription had on the population of Canada, and then the opinions of historians on conscription. Finally, I will look at the importance of this issue in the history of Canada. When conscription was first proposed, there was an instant divide between English and French Canada. English Canada was generally for conscription as they felt they should support Britain as much as possible.x French Canada on the other hand, felt no loyalty towards Britain and therefore was strongly opposed. The issue of conscription threatened to divide Canada. Borden faced a tough decision, he had to decide whether to support Britain and gain international recognition, or save his country from internal destruction. When Border chose the former, there was instantly civil unrest throughout the country. In Quebec, there were riots protesting conscription and many refused to serve when they were conscripted. ...read more.

Conclusion

iv Edward Grubb, Memories of the No-Conscription Fellowship (Canada: Richard Cobden-Sanderson, 1935), 144. v Grant Dexter, The Conscription Debates of 1917 and 1944: an Analysis (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Free Press, 1944), 6. vi Ibid, 8. vii Elisabeth Armstrong, The Crisis of Quebec: 1914-1918 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974), 168. viii Desmond Morton, When Your Number's Up: the Canadian Soldier in the First World War. (Canada, Random House, 1993), 68. ix Kathryn Bindon, More than Patriotism: Canada at War, 1914-1918 (Toronto: Personal Library Publishers, 1979), 156. x A. M. Willms, Conscription, 1917 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, [date not known]), 9. xi Grant Dexter, The Conscription Debates of 1917 and 1944: an Analysis (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Free Press, 1944), 3-8. xii Desmond Morton, When Your Number's Up: the Canadian Soldier in the First World War. (Canada, Random House, 1993), 64. F. List of Sources Armstrong, Elisabeth. The Crisis of Quebec: 1914-1918. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974. Bindon, Kathryn. More than Patriotism: Canada at War, 1914-1918. Toronto: Personal Library Publishers, 1979. Dexter, Grant. The Conscription Debates of 1917 and 1944: an Analysis. Winnipeg: Winnipeg Free Press, 1944. Grubb, Edward. Memories of the No-Conscription Fellowship by the Treasurer. Canada: Richard Cobden-Sanderson, 1935. Morton, Desmond. When Your Number's Up: the Canadian Soldier in the First World War. Canada, Random House, 1993. Swettenham, John. Canada and the First World War. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1969. Willms, A.M. Conscription, 1917. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, [date not known]. 1 ...read more.

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