Undergrad lands on pages of prestigious history journal

By Costa Maragos Posted: July 28, 2015 6:00 a.m.

History undergrad Jordan Ethier gives a ‘shout-out’' to Lord Durham
History undergrad Jordan Ethier gives a ‘shout-out’' to Lord Durham (Photo courtesy of Jordan Ethier).

On this date - July 28, 2015 - we take note of a man of immense historical significance to Canada. 175 years ago today, John George Lambton or Lord Durham, died.  
“Few names elicit a stronger reaction in Canadian history than Lord Durham. He is at once a champion of democratic ideals and an aristocratic tyrant,” writes Jordan Ethier.

Ethier graduated with distinction in the spring of 2014 with a Bachelor degree from the U of R’s Department of History.

His impressive paper, “Lord Durham and the Birth of Canadian History,” has appeared in “The Mirror,” Canada’s oldest and most  prestigious undergraduate history journal, published by Western University in London, Ont.
Given French-Canada’s negative feelings towards Durham, Ethier admits that his passionate defense of the man is like “playing with fire.”

Durham was a British politician, sent to North America in 1838 to investigate the twin rebellions of Upper and Lower Canada.

The ‘Durham Report’ caused a storm for recommending the assimilation of French Canadians and the implementation of ‘responsible government.’

The French hated Durham.

The British government all but ignored the report for a decade, fearing implementation would lead to loss of colonial autonomy.

But the report was eventually implemented, laying the groundwork for confederation.

“One simply cannot discuss the nature of French-English relations in Canada without conjuring the spirit of Lord Durham,” says Ethier.

“Lord Durham also defined those subjects which are at the heart of Canadian history: the balance of power between regions and the core; the constitutional structures between the executive and legislative branches of government; the concept of self-governance and, in turn, self-determination."
“Above all else, though, Lord Durham defined the conflict that existed between the "two founding races": the French and the English. The development of the relationship between the French and the English is at the core of all Canadian history," says Ethier.

So with that, Ethier argues “the Englishman known to his contemporaries as ‘Radical Jack’ and accursed today by a plethora of unmentionable descriptors should rightfully be acknowledged as the Father of Canadian History.”

Agree? Disagree? Whatever the case, Ethier’s defense of Durham has found an impressive audience.

This is the second year in a row a graduate from the U of R’s Department of History has had a paper published in The Mirror. That’s no easy task. The magazine is known for its original and innovative research.
This is also a positive reflection on the U of R’s Department of History.

An undergraduate degree in history is excellent preparation for careers in law, education, information management, public service and business.