Franchises Lost and Gained: Post-Coloniality and the Development of Women’s Rights in Canada

Abstract

The Canadian constitution is to some extent characterised by its focus on equality, and in particular gender equality. This development of women’s rights in Canada and the greater engagement of women as political actors is often presented as a steady linear process, moving forwards from post-enlightenment modernity. This article seeks to disturb this ‘discourse of the continuous,’ by using an analysis of the pre-confederation history of suffrage in Canada to both refute a simplistic linear view of women’s rights development and to argue for recognition of the Indigenous contribution to the history of women’s rights in Canada.

The gain of franchise and suffrage movements in Canada in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century are, rightly, the focus of considerable study (Pauker 2015), This article takes an alternative perspective. Instead, it examines the exercise of earlier franchises in pre-confederation Canada. In particular it analyses why franchise was exercised more widely in Lower Canada and relates this to the context of the removal of franchises from women prior to confederation.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • • Anderson Stuart, 2010, ‘Local Government’, in Cornish William Rodolph (ed), The Oxford History of the Laws of England, Volume XI 1820-1914, English Legal System, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • • Atiyah Patrick S, 1986, ‘Form and Substance in Legal Reasoning: The Case of Contract’, in MacCormick Neil and Birks Peter (eds), The Legal Mind: Essays for Tony Honoré, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 19-44.

  • • Backhouse Constance, 1991, Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada, published for the Osgoode Society by Women’s Press, Toronto.

  • • Bailey Joanne, 2002, ‘Favoured or Oppressed? Married Women, Property and “Coverture” in England, 1600-1800’, Continuity and Change, XVII(3): 351–72.

  • • Baillargeon Denyse, 2014, A Brief History of women in Quebec, Wilfrid Laurier Press, Waterloo.

  • • Ballara Angela, 2017, ‘Mangakahia, Meri Te Tai’, Web page, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Accessed August 23 2017, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2m30/mangakahia-meri-te-tai.

  • • Boutelle Ann Edwards, 1986, ‘Frances Brooke’s Emily Montague (1769): Canada and Woman’s Rights’, Women’s Studies, XII(1): 7–16.

  • • Bradbury Bettina, 2012, Wife to Widow: Lives, Laws, and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Montreal, UBC Press, Vancouver.

  • • Brailsford Henry Noel and Hill Christopher, 1976, The Levellers and the English Revolution, New edition, Spokesman Books, Nottingham.

  • • Brooke Frances, 1995, The History of Emily Montague, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto.

  • • Brooks Christopher and Sharpe Kevin, 1976, ‘History, English Law and the Renaissance’, Past and Present, no. 72: 133–42.

  • • Brydon Diana and Schagerl Jessica, 2005, ‘Empire Girls and Global Girls: A Dialogue on Spaces of Community in the Twentieth Century’, in Kanaganayakam C. (Chelvnayakam) (ed), Moveable Margins: The Shifting Spaces of Canadian Literature, TSAR, Toronto, 27-45.

  • • Campbell Grail, 1989, ‘Disenfranchised But Not Quiescent: Women Petitioners in New Brunswick in the Mid-Nineteenth Centuy’, Acadiensis, XVIII(2): 22-54.

  • • Carlyle Thomas, 1933, The French Revolution, J.M. Dent, London.

  • • CEDAW, 2003, Concluding Comments on the Committee Twenty-Eighth Session, Canada’s Fifth Periodic Report CEDAW/C/2003/I/CRP.3/Add.5.1.

  • • CEDAW, 2016, ‘Report of the Inquiry Concerning Canada of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’.

  • • Choquette Leslie, 1997, Frenchmen into Peasants: Modernity and Tradition in the Peopling of French Canada, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

  • • Clark Anna, 2005, ‘Women in Eighteenth-Century British Politics’, in Knott Sarah and Taylor Barbara (eds), Women, Gender, and Enlightenment, 1650-1850, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 570-586.

  • • Cleverdon Catherine Lyle, 1950, The Woman Suffrage Movement in Canada, University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

  • • Clio Collective, Dumont Micheline and Michel Jean, 1990, Quebec Women: a history, Three O’Clock Press, Toronto.

  • • Cobbett William, 1807, Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England: From the Norman Conquest, in 1066, to the Year 1803, Vol.2 Comprising the Period from the Accession of Charles the First, in March 1625, to the Battle of Edge-Hill, in October 1642, Bagshaw, London.

  • • Coke Edward, 1669, The Fourth Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England: Concerning the Jurisdiction of Courts .., The fourth edition, Printed for A, Crook [and 12 others] booksellers, London.

  • • Cour Likke de la, Morgan Cecilia and Valverde Mariana, 1992, ‘Gender Regulation and State Formation’, in Greer Alan and Radforth Ian Walter (eds), Colonial Leviathan: State Formation in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Canada, University of Toronto Press, Toronto and Buffalo, 163-191.

  • • Courtney John C. (John Childs), 2004, Elections, UBC Press, Vancouver.

  • • Crawford Elizabeth, 1999, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928, UCL Press, London.

  • • Crenshaw Kimberle, 1989, ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989: 139-167.

  • • Curzon of Kedleston George Nathaniel Curzon, 1908, Lord Curzon’s Fifteen Good Reasons against the Grant of Female Suffrage, National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage, London.

  • • Devens Carol, 1992, Countering Colonization: Native American Women and Great Lakes Missions, 1630-1900, University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif.

  • • Doucet Nicolas Benjamin, 1847, Fundamental Principles of the Laws of Canada, as They Existed under the Natives, as They Were Changed under the French Kings, and as They Were Modified and Altered under the Domination of England : The General Principles of the Custom of Paris, as Laid down by the Most Eminent Authors, with the Text, and a Literal Translation of the Text, The Imperial and Other Statutes, Changing the Jurisprudence in Either of the Provinces of Canada at Large, .., Printed by J, Lovell, Montreal.

  • • Doughty Arthur G. (Arthur George) and Story Norah, 1935, Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1819-1828, J.O, Patenaude, Ottawa.

  • • Elections Canada (ed), 1997, A History of the Vote in Canada, Published by Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada for the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Ottawa.

  • • FAFIA Feminist Alliance for International Action and NWAC Native Women’s Association of Canada, 2015, Murders and Disappearances of Aboriginal Women and Girls: Report to the Human Rights Committee on the Occasion of the Committee's Consideration of the Sixth Periodic Report of Canada, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CCPR_CSS_CAN_20769_E.pdf.

  • • Finlay Hugh, 1918, 1918, ‘Letter to Sir Evan Nepean, Quebec 22nd October 1784’, in Shortt Adam and Doughty Arthur G. (eds), Canadian Archives: Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada: 1759-1791., HDPB, Ottawa.

  • • Fischer David Hackett, 2008, Champlain’s Dream, Simon & Schuster, New York.

  • • Foucault Michel, 1982, The Archaeology of Knowledge: And the Discourse on Language by Michel Foucault, Vintage, New York.

  • • Fraser Arvonne S., 1999, ‘Becoming Human: The Origins and Development of Women’s Human Rights’, Human Rights Quarterly, XXI(4): 853–90.

  • • Friedman Elizabeth, 1995, ‘Women’s Human Rights: The Emergence of a Movement’, in Peters Julie and Wolper Andrea (eds), Women’s Rights Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives, Routledge, New York and London, 18-35.

  • • Froide Amy M., 2005, Never Married: Singlewomen in Early Modern England, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York.

  • • Garner John, 1969, The Franchise and Politics in British North America, 1755-1867, University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

  • • Green Joyce A. (Joyce Audry), 2007, Making Space for Indigenous Feminism, Fernwood Publishing, Black Point, NS.

  • • Greer Allan and Radforth Ian Walter, 1992, ‘Introduction’, in Greer and Radforth (eds), Colonial Leviathan: State Formation in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Canada, University of Toronto Press, Toronto and Buffalo.

  • • Gregory Desmond, 1985, The Ungovernable Rock: A History of the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom and Its Role in Britain’s Mediterranean Strategy during the Revolutionary War, 1793-1797, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Rutherford, NJ.

  • • Hanley Sarah, 1998, ‘The Politics of Identity and Monarchic Governance in France: The Debate over Female Exclusion’, in Smith. Hilda L. (ed), Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 289-304.

  • • Harris Barbara, 1990, ‘Women and Politics in Early Tudor England’, The Historical Journal, XXXIII(2): 259-281.

  • • Hirst Derek, 1975, The Representative of the People?: Voters and Voting in England under the Early Stuarts, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.

  • • Hooks Bell, 2000, Feminist Theory from Margin to Center, 2nd edition, Pluto Press, London.

  • • Inter-American Commissino on Human Rights, 2014, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada Organisation of American States OEA/Ser.L/V/II.Doc30/14.

  • • Jackson James, 2009, The Riot That Never Was: The Military Shooting of Three Montrealers in 1832 and the Official Cover-Up, Baraka Books, Montreal.

  • • Jennings, Cec, ‘Winning Back the Vote’, Canada’s History, XCV(5).

  • • Keyssar Alexander, 2000, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States; [with a New Afterword], [Rev, ed], Basic Books, New York.

  • • Kingdom E. (Elizabeth), 1990, ‘Gendering Rights’, in Arnaud André Jean and Kingdom E. (Elizabeth) (eds), Women’s Rights and the Rights of Man, Aberdeen University Press, Aberdeen.

  • • King Jason, 2007, ‘“Their Colonial Condition”: Connections Between French-Canadians and Irish Catholics in the Nation and the Dublin University Magazine’, Éire-Ireland, XLII(1): 108-131.

  • • Klein Kim, 1996, ‘A “Petticoat Polity”?: Women Voters in New Brunswick Before Confederation’, Acadiensis, XXVI(1): 71-75.

  • • Klinghoffer Judith Apter and Elkis, 1992, ‘“The Petticoat Electors”: Women’s Suffrage in New Jersey, 1776-1807’, Journal of the Early Republic, XII(2): 159-193.

  • • Leacock Eleanor, 1980, ‘Montagnais Women and the Jesuit, Program for Colonization’, in Etienne Mona and Leacock Eleanor (eds), Women and Colonization: Anthroplogical Perspectives, Praeger Publishers, New York, 25-41.

  • • Leacock Eleanor Burke, 1980, ‘Women’s Status in Egalitarian Society’, in Myths of Male Dominance: Collected Papers on Women Cross Culturally, Monthly Review Press, New York, 133-182.

  • • Levine Philippa, 2004, ‘Why Gender and Empire?’, in Levine Philippa (ed), Gender and Empire, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York.

  • • Lucarelli Sonia and Manners Ian, 2006, Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy, 1st ed, Routledge, London.

  • • Markoff John, 2003, ‘Margins, Centers, and Democracy: The Paradigmatic History of Women’s Suffrage’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, XXIX(1): 85-116.

  • • Martin Archie Chief of the Eastern and Western Metis, 2007, ‘The Metis - Who Are We!’ Web page, Accessed March 21, http://www.zibiodey.org/CHIEFMARTIN.html.

  • • Martin Ged, 1995, Britain and the Origins of Canadian Confederation, 1837-67, Macmillan, Basingstoke.

  • • Martin Ged and Wilson Britanie, 2013, John A, Macdonald: Canada’s First Prime Minister, Dundurn Group Ltd, Toronto.

  • • Mendelson Sara Heller and Crawford Patricia (Patricia M.), 1998, Women in Early Modern England, 1550-1720, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

  • • Merry Sally Engle, 2006, Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill.

  • • Midgely Clare, 2001, ‘British Women, Women’s Rights and Empire 1790-1850’, in Grimshaw Patricia and Holmes Katie (eds), Women’s Rights and Human Rights: International Historical Perspectives, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 3-15.

  • • Murray General James, 1918, ‘Report on the State of the Government of Quebec in Canada June 5th 1762’, in Shortt Adam and Doughty Arthur G. (eds), Canadian Archives: Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada: 1759-1791., HDPB, Ottawa.

  • • Nardo Don, 2014, The Split History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Perspectives Flip Book, Compass Point Books, North Mankato, Minn.

  • • Noel Jan, 1991, ‘New France: Les Femmes Favorisees’, in Strong-Boag Veronica Jane and Fellman Anita Clair (eds), Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women’s History, 2nd ed, Copp Clark Pitman, Toronto, 23-44.

  • • Palmater Pamela, 2015, RCMP Representation of Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women: Statistics are Skewed Rabble. Ca Blog April 13th 2015, http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/pamela-palmater/2015/04/rcmp-report-on-murdered-and-missing-aboriginal-women-statisti.

  • • Palmater Pamela, 20156, ‘Shining a Light on the Dark Places: Addressing Police Racism and Sexualised Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls at the National Inquiry’, CJWL, XXVIII(2): 253-284.

  • • Parliamentary Report, Lower Canada, 1833, ‘Having Reference to The Occurrences Which Took Place in Montreal on the 21st May, 1832, and During and After the Representation for the West Ward of the Said City’, CO/45/109, National Archives Kew.

  • • Pauker Magnolia, 2015, ‘Suffrage Campaigns and Enfranchisement, With Special Reference to Canada: Extended Bibliography’, http://www.academia.edu/30819491/Suffrage_Campaigns_and_Enfranchisement_With_Special_Reference_to_Canada_Extended_Bibliography.

  • • Pearlston Karen, 2009, ‘Married Women Bankrupts in the Age of Coverture’, Law, XXXIV(2): 265-299.

  • • Pealston Karen, 2011, ‘What a Feme Sole Trader Could Not Do: Lord Mansfield on the Limits of a Married Woman’s Commercial Freedom’, in Kippen Kim and Woods Lori (eds), Worth and Repute: Valuing Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Essays in Honour of Barbara Todd, Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Toronto, 309-336.

  • • Pickering Paul A., 2001, ‘“And Your Petitioners &c”: Chartist Petitioning in Popular Politics 1838-1848’, The English Historical Review, CXVI(466): 368-388.

  • • ‘Pitcairn Islands’, 2017, accessed August 23 2017, http://www.government.pn/Pitcairnshistory.php.

  • • Pollard Albert Frederick, 1920, The Evolution of Parliament, Longmans, Green and co., New York.

  • • Power Eileen and Postan M.M. (Michael Moïssey), 1997, Medieval Women, Canto ed, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  • • Prest Wilfrid, 1991, ‘Law and Women’s Rights in Early Modern England’, The Seventeenth Century, VI: 169-187.

  • • Proctor Candice E., 1990, Women, Equality, and the French Revolution, Greenwood Press, New York.

  • Quebec Gazette, volumes 69 and 71.

  • • Ratcliffe Donald, 2013, ‘The Right to Vote and the Rise of Democracy, 1787-1828’, Journal of the Early Republic, XXXIII(2): 219-254.

  • • ‘Report of the Inquiry Concerning Canada of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’, 2016, CEDAW/ C/ OP.8/CAN/1 para 205.

  • • Scott Joan Wallach, 1988, Gender and the Politics of History, Columbia University Press, New York.

  • • Seuffert Nan, 2005, ‘Nation as Partnership: Law, “Race,” and Gender in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Treaty Settlements’, Law, XXXIX(3): 485-526.

  • • Seymour Charles and Frary Donald Paige, 1918, How the World Votes: The Story of Democratic Development in Elections, Etc, C.A. Nichols Co., Springfield.

  • • Sharpe Robert J. and McMahon Patricia I., 2007, The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood, published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press, Toronto and London.

  • • Shoemaker Robert Brink, 1998, Gender in English Society, 1650-1850: The Emergence of Separate Spheres?, Longman, London.

  • • Shortt Adam and Doughty Arthur G., 1918, Canadian Archives: Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada: 1759-1791, HDPB, Ottawa.

  • • Stanton Elizabeth Cady, 1993, ‘Address Delivered at Seneca Falls and Rochester, NY (1870)’, in Moynihan Ruth Barnes, Russett Cynthia Eagle and Crumpacker Laurie (eds), Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 257-262.

  • • Stopes Charlotte (Carmichael), 1894, British Freewomen Their Historical Privilege: By Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, Swan Sonnenschein & Co, Paternoster Square, London.

  • • Stretton Tim, 1998, Women Waging Law in Elizabethan England, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  • • Strong-Boag Veronica Jane, 2002, ‘The Citizen Debate 1885’, in Chunn Dorothy E., Menzies Robert J. and Adamoski Robert L. (eds), Contesting Canadian Citizenship: Historical Readings, Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ont.

  • • Thomas Keith V., 1958, ‘Women and the Civil War Sects’, Past, no. 13: 42-62.

  • • Tripp Aili Mari, 2006, ‘Challenges in Transnational Mobilisation’, in Ferree Myra Marx and Tripp Aili Mari (eds), Global Feminism: Transnational Women’s Activism, Organizing, and Human Rights, New York University Press, New York, 296-312.

  • • Turner Edward Raymond, 1915, ‘Women’s Suffrage in New Jersey 1790-1807’, Smith College Studies, I(4).

  • • Turpel Mary Ellen, 1993, ‘Patriarchy and Paternalism: The Legacy of the Canadian State for First Nations Women’, Canadian Journal of Women and Law, VI(1): 174-192.

  • • Van Kirk Sylvia, 1983, Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870, 1st American ed, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Okla.

  • • Voyageur Cora Jane, 2008, Firekeepers of the Twenty-First Century: First Nations Women Chiefs, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Ithaca.

  • • Wagner Sally Roesch, 2001, Sisters in Spirit: The Iroquois Influence on Early American Feminists, Native Voices, Summertown, Tenn.

  • • Wagner Sally Roesch, 2004, ‘The Indigenous Roots of United States Feminism’, in Ricciutelli Luciana, Miles Angela R. (Angela Rose) and McFadden Margaret (eds), Feminist Politics, Activism and Vision: Local and Global Challenges, Inanna Publications and Education, Toronto.

  • • Williams Robert A., Jr., 1989, ‘Gendered Checks and Balances: Understanding the Legacy of White Patriarchy in an American Indian Cultural Context’, Georgia Law Review, XXIV: 1019-1044.

  • • Young Brian J., 1994, The Politics of Codification: The Lower Canadian Civil Code of 1866, McGill-Queen’s University Press [for] the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Montreal.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search