Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Release: Johnson on "Men, Women, and the State in Upper Canada, 1783-1841"

New from McGill-Queen's University Press: In Duty Bound: Men, Women, and the State in Upper Canada, 1783-1841 (2014), by J.K. Johnson (Carleton University). The Press describes the book as follows:
In Duty Bound is an unprecedented look at Upper Canada's forgotten people and the ways in which their lives were by necessity bound in a mutual relationship of duty and obligation to the Upper Canadian state.

This neglected area of Canada's history has been preserved, in part, in the form of personal petitions submitted to the lieutenant-governor and legislature for land, government jobs, pensions, pardons and the lessening of court sentences, for compensation for damages done by, or work done for, the state, and for relief. Using these and other previously unexamined government records, J.K. Johnson illustrates that, popular knowledge aside, Upper Canada was not simply a land of self-sufficient farmers and artisans and that many had to turn to and rely on the state for their livelihoods.

The major themes of Upper Canada's history, from war and rebellion to immigration and settlement, are well-documented. In Duty Bound fleshes out the lives of ordinary people in Upper Canada and clarifies how several branches of government worked for, or against, the interests of the population.
A few blurbs:
“In Duty Bound is by far the most significant sources on relations between the Upper Canadian state and ‘ordinary’ settlers.” -- Colin Read

“In Duty Bound is a delight to read, written in a style that carries the reader along without losing any of the nuances or strength of the analysis. It will become an essential part of the library of all scholars of Upper Canada and indeed of nineteenth century British America and Canada.” -- Elizabeth Jane Errington
More information is available here.