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Cartoons and Caricatures

Atlantic Antics

The development of Confederation in Canada's Atlantic region spanned almost a century, and stimulated an equally broad range of creative commentary from regional and national cartoonists. Although Newfoundland and the Maritime provinces each brought a unique perspective to the issue of Confederation, the economic, social and political concerns evident in these cartoons reveal common preoccupations with such matters as responsible government, annexation and general political mischief.

Caricature, THE HAPPY PAIR, John A. Macdonald and Joseph Howe

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"The Happy Pair" (John A. Macdonald and Joseph Howe)

In the interest of promoting closer relations amongst the colonies of British North America, Thomas D'Arcy McGee organized a visit to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by a delegation of Canadian politicians and journalists for the late summer of 1864. Newspapers of the time were particularly amused by the "Hodge Podge dinner" held for the delegates.

Caricature, A GAME OF SEE-SAW

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"A Game of See-Saw"

A game of see-saw: fickleness exhibited by the Maritime Provinces. The battle over Confederation was fought in the newspapers as well as in the legislature.

Caricature, SCARING THE MARITIME HORSE

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"Scaring the Maritime Horse"

Charles Tupper demonstrates his control over Maritime political issues. Grip, November 24, 1877.

Caricature, TAXES UNDER CONFEDERATION

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"Taxes under Confederation"

Union with Canada was often regarded as a solution to existing problems rather than as a desirable end in and of itself. Furthermore, Newfoundlanders could observe no clear benefits for the Maritime colonies that had joined.

Caricature, THE MERCHANTS AND RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT

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"The Merchants and Responsible Government"

Despite the hopes of Newfoundland's responsible government supporters, the London delegation got a cold reception from the British government, which balked at promising any substantial amount of financial assistance if the island chose independence.

Caricature, TWO VIEWS OF RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT

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"Two Views of Responsible Government"

For Newfoundland, which was suffering economic difficulties after a bank crash, union with Canada gained an attractive financial aspect.

Caricature, THE BRIDGE TO PROSPERITY

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"The Bridge to Prosperity"

The strong American presence during the Second World War caused Canada to renew its interest in inviting Newfoundland to join Confederation.

Caricature, A QUEER FISHERMAN!

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"A Queer Fisherman!"

While Confederation is generally regarded as a positive event for Newfoundland, many feel that its execution should have been far different. There have even been suggestions of a conspiracy to force Newfoundland into Confederation.

Caricature, THE ROAD TO CONFEDERATION 1

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"The Road to Confederation 1"

The fiftieth anniversary of Newfoundland's inclusion in Confederation, in 1999, provided many people with an opportunity for reflection on how Newfoundland has fared within the union. Many newspapers published stories about those who had witnessed the Confederation campaign.

Caricature, THE ROAD TO CONFEDERATION 2

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"The Road to Confederation 2"

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