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Synopsis

Nineteenth-century Canada experienced two other revolutions apart from those of W.L. Mackenzie and Louis Riel: the transition to capitalism, and to responsible government. Union Is Strength argues that these major socio-political changes happened in Ontario without a revolutionary moment because of the intertwined relationship of reformers with capitalists. Examining a small, utopian socialist group named the Children of Peace, Albert Schrauwers traces the emergence of a vibrant democratic culture in the province from the decade before the Rebellions of 1837.

Schrauwers shows how the overlapping boards of unincorporated joint stock companies managed by both Toronto reformers and the Children of Peace produced a culture of deliberative democracy in competition with the "gentlemanly capitalism" of chartered corporations. Noting the ways in which Ontario's capitalist and democratic revolutions were linked through cooperative joint stock operations, he also situates these revolutions in an international context and links them to the development of Owenite socialism and Chartism in the United Kingdom. Union Is Strength is an insightful study of both nineteenth century Canada and the ways in which regional political cultures arise.

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