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15篇文章贯通大学英语四级CET4词汇第10篇

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Canada Becomes a Nation
  Before Canada became a nation in 1867, the area of North America that now composes Canada was a large expanse of widely scattered communities of British and French origins. It was an area with diverse landscapes that physically divided them from the north of the United States. There was little connection among communities politically or economically. These colonies of British North America traditionally traded with Britain and with the United States, very little among themselves. These colonies even had customs duties that, to some extent, restricted such trade. In the mid 1800s, important events and changes took place.
  Britain repealed(废除,撤销) the Corn Laws and Navigations Acts, which had been economically beneficial to the colonies at the same rate it applied to all other trading countries, a situation to which the colonies had never been accustomed.
  From 1861to 1864, Americans were involved in a major civil war. Britain had traditional economic ties with the southern part of the United States that provided cotton to British markets. In the meantime, since the war was essentially between the North and the South, the North resented Britain’s connection with the South. In addition, during the last year (1864) of the American Civil War, the American Government of the dominant and ultimately victorious North, refused to renew a ten-year free trade agreement with United Canada, the large British colony in the central part of British North America. These arbitrary events brought concern and even fear to these colonies. With the loss of traditional trading arrangements and the end of the civil war, the North being victorious, the colonists feared that the Americans might turn on the British colonies in retaliation(报复,报仇) for Britain’s moral support for the South.
  The need for new markets, and a solid defense system from potential invasion by the United States, brought an acute awareness to these diverse colonies that they should look to each other for resolutions to these problems. They felt uneasy trying to cope against these adversities(逆境,苦难) on their own. Sir John A. Macdonald from United Canada, the dominant personality at this time, also saw the acceleration of American settlers moving north and spreading throughout the flat prairie (大草原) lands to the west. This would potentially(潜在的) put a wall between the colonies in the East and the lonely western British colony in what is today part of British Columbia on the west coast of North America. Macdonald felt that the situation was urgent.
  In the summer of 1864, the maritime colonies of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New found land scheduled a meeting to discuss the possibility of a customs union or free trade area to compensate for the latest setbacks(挫折,失败) in trade relations with Britain and the United States. Macdonald managed to get permission for some delegates from United Canada to attend as observers. For a number of years, United Canada was experiencing problems of political deadlock (僵局). Canada West was predominantly(主要地) English-speaking Canada East was predominantly French-speaking. A central government, set up in 1841, required a majority from both Canada West and Canada East for all legislation to become law. It was very difficult to pass significant legislation when two opposing views were constantly being debated and legislative bills were constantly being defeated. The Canadians saw a new, wider union, a potential new national institution or central government, as a possible solution for breaking out of this constant political disorder.
  The Canadian delegates sailed on board a cruise ship down the St. Lawrence River, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. This convention expanded to discussions of the possibility of all the British colonies uniting into one nation.
  After much complicated debate at another convention in Quebec City that same year, the delegate submitted a draft of an agreement for the formation of the dominion of Canada. The bulk of the work had been done by a group of men of seemingly high virtue, who became know in history as “the Fathers of Confederation(联邦)”. United Canada was divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Some allowances were given to Quebec because it was a predominantly French-speaking Catholic province and had special needs, unlike other provinces. The colony of Nova Scotia was divided into Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. These four provinces formed the original new nation. A flexible approach, in later years, persuaded other colonies to join.

A federal system, with powers distributed between the central and provincial governments, was created. The provinces were assigned powers to have their own governments to deal with more local or provincial issues, the federal system would promote harmony among provinces, with different perspectives on nationhood. This was a compromise, so that the bigger provinces of Ontario and Quebec wouldn’t completely dominate the smaller provinces. The country was to be called the Dominion of Canada, but would still remain loyal to Britain as a member of the British Empire.
  The new legislation that created Canada was a British act of Parliament called “The British North America Acts of 1867”. Canada officially became a nation on July 1st, 1867. This would be the anniversary occasion each year, for joyous celebration of a national holiday commemoration(纪念,庆祝) the birth of Canada.
  The development of the country, as we know it today, was an evolutionary(进化的,演变的) process over more than eight decades. Manitoba became a province after some controversial events involving the federal government and the Metis, French-speaking descendants of French fur traders who married American Indian girls. This ethnic(人种的,种族的) group settled near Fort Gary, the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba what is called today.
  John A. Macdonald, the new and first Prime Minister of the new nation, made a deal with the western-most colony in Vancouver guaranteeing on the building of a railroad from the east to the west if that colony would join Canadian Confederation. The property of the Metis, to which the letter felt legally entitled, was in the path of the new railway. The federal government essentially took the land. The Metis were compelled to move further west, but not without a fight. (The Metis and the federal government were on an inevitable(无法避免的) collision course. Twice, Metis revolts rested the might(权力,威力) of the federal government and relationship between French-and English-speaking in Canada). The federal government was able to defeat the Metis in both clashes. Louis Riel, the leader of the Metis was hanged for treason(叛国,谋反) in 1885 for his leading role in resisting the federal government. He became a martyr to French-Canadians. His death only added fuel to the growing discontent(不满意) between French and English Canada.
  Throughout this whole period, 1869 to 1885, the federal (or central) government ignored the appeals of the Metis. It appeared that, according to Macdonald and his followers, the creation of the new nation was more important than relieving the plight(困境) of a relatively small minority group. The Metis probably deserved much better of the federal government. Different versions of these events are still debated in Canadian classrooms today.
  Macdonald was also criticized for concealing the fact that he took some money illegally to complete the railway. In 1873 as “The Pacific Scandal” became known, the construction of the railway suspended temporarily. The determined Macdonald and his government, obsessed(担心,困扰) by the possibility of the Americans moving in and taking over the west, boldly pushed railway construction to completion.
   Manitoba became a province in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905. The admission of Newfoundland into Confederation in 1948 completed the Canadian Confederation of ten provinces from sea to sea, as they exist today. The railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was completed before the agreed deadline.
  Canada’s becoming a nation was not an easy road. Canada’s remaining a nation has perhaps been an even harder road. There were many challenges facing it over the first one hundred or more years. The most serious challenge has been, and still is, staying together as a country. Relations between French-speaking and English-speaking Canada have been difficult to improve. This persistent(持续存在的) theme in Canadian history began with the defeat of New France by Britain during the Seven Years War from 1756to 1763 (or the French-Indian War, as it was known in North America). In the last twenty years, referenda(普通投票) held in Quebec for possible separation from Canada, were narrowly defeated. This challenge still lies ahead.
  So far, the country has remained strong, and has traditionally played a significant role in international affairs. Canada has much promise for the 21st century. It will need to find creative diplomatic strategies to keep the internal rumblings(摩擦声,隆隆声) beneath the surface from exploding into self-destruction. It will need to find a way to fulfill the dreams of “the Fathers of Confederation” of so many years ago. A good guess is that the odds are in favor of Canada achieving those dreams and truly becoming the nation that was originally intended.


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