The Political Other in Nineteenth-Century British North America : the Satire of Thomas Chandler Haliburton
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In the first half of the nineteenth century, British North America was trying to find its way within the Empire and in North America. The American democratic and republican experiment offered the Canadian colonies an alternative that seemed both appealing and threatening. The Nova Scotian politician, historian, and satirist T. C. Haliburton articulated the fears of his time in a series of humorous sketches targeting a general audience and designed to spur a collective debate on the advantages and disadvantages of democracy. This article explores Haliburton’s political satire in parallel with the classic interpretation of democracy in America offered by Alexis de Tocqueville. Both authors wrote about American democracy at about the same time and related to the American model from without, being aware of the profound effect the new form of government could have on their own communities.