The Progressive Party in Canada

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University of Toronto Press, 1950 - Political Science - 331 pages

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The Background of the Progressive Movement
The Farmers Movement and the Political Parties
The Beginnings of Political Action 191920

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About the author (1950)

Born on a Manitoba farm, William Lewis Morton grew up in a political environment that was simultaneously British, imperial, and western Canadian in outlook. After completing a degree at the University of Manitoba, he moved on to Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar. Morton then returned to Manitoba to teach and write history for more than two decades. From Morton's standpoint the history of western Canada differed as sharply from that of eastern Canada as it did from that of the American plains. He believed that the Canadian west had become a distinct society and that Manitoba was the most Canadian of all the provinces. While he accepted the staples interpretation of Canadian history, he criticized it from a prairie perspective. "Confederation was brought about to increase the wealth of Central Canada," he wrote, "and until that original purpose is altered, . . . Confederation must remain an instrument of injustice." (University of Toronto Quarterly XV, April 1946). He believed that perennial gusts of righteous discontent blowing over the prairies had generated a succession of reform waves expressed in the Progressive, Social Credit, and CCF political parties. Toward the end of his career, Morton evolved from a regional to a national historian, articulating a conservative viewpoint that stressed the importance of the monarchy, the empire/commonwealth, and parliamentary institutions in the formation of a dual Canadian identity.

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