Much more substantial than my own collection of good posts for the past year is Phil Paine's annotated list of books that inspired him this year. There is no point in duplicating his post; instead I will just include one fairly long excerpt and hope that you will look for the rest at his website.
In 1841, the two colonies were consolidated, after this was urged by the investigating emissary from Britain, Lord Durham. There would be an elected assembly for the new “United Canada”, but the intention was to dilute the power of the French-speaking majority in Lower Canada, with a long-term goal of “assimilating” French Canadians into oblivion. While there were some constitional gains, the assembly having more power on money bills than before, there were obvious losses. Lower Canada had actually rejoiced in a degree of women’s suffrage: women who met the property qualifications had the vote, and these qualifications were low enough that they applied to a substantial number of women. There was, in fact, nothing like it in any other place in the world. In one contemporary document I ran across, it is casually mentioned to a visitor that “in our country, women are the political equals of men.” This female suffrage would be abolished by the new United Canada. In Upper Canada, the autocratic power of the Family Compact was strengthened, and reform stymied. Lafontaine and Baldwin, both ardent democrats, looked upon the ash-heap left by the rebellions and tried to think out a strategy to bring the reform movement back to life.
Europe would go on to more extreme and disastrous manifestations of Uniformitarianism. The colonial empires of Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany left no doubt that there was to be nothing equal about the ethnicities, languages and customs within them. The United States struggled with a schizophrenic heritage, the implied values of the American Revolution in constant conflict with the urge to create a uniformitarian state, immigrants under constant pressure to “melt” into conformity. But in Canada, the ideas of Baldwin and Lafontaine became the mainstream shaping the country’s destiny. Confederation in 1867 was clearly founded on them. … When interviewed while welcoming Syrian refugees to Canada, a few weeks ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pretty much stated them as if they were obvious. But they are by no means obvious to most of the world, or there would be no refugees to welcome. So reading Lafontaine and Baldwin, seeing these ideas being born, was emotionally, as well as intellectually satisfying.Image: Lafontaine and Baldwin