The work of Baldwin and LaFontaine towards responsible government would do much to set the stage for the Canadian colonies to move towards Confederation.
Another influence leading towards Confederation would come from south of the border. Legislators in Canada watched the conflagration of the Civil War with alarm, and realized their best alternative was to stand together or risk annexation. In the aftermath of that war, raids by Irish-American veterans, the so called Fenian Raids, only solidified the need to work together.
This is the musket of a Fenian Raider, taken by a Canadian militia officer at the Battle of Ridgeway near Niagara in 1866. The uniform is a Union uniform of the 1860s, typical, as most of the Fenians had served in the Union Army during the Civil War. The Fenian movement sought to use Canada as ransom to force the British to remove their presence from all of Ireland. The raids failed, but strengthened the resolve of Canadian politicians, regardless of political differences, to work for a common cause.
Three portraits of some of the Fathers of Confederation are here: John A. Macdonald, George Brown, and George-Etienne Cartier. These three men would be among the leading voices for Confederation; Macdonald would be the first prime minister of the country.
A group portrait of the Fathers of Confederation was taken during the Charlottetown Conference in 1864.
The most eloquent of the Fathers of Confederation was one of its more unusual stories. Thomas D'Arcy McGee had been a radical in his native Ireland. He ended up in Canada as a journalist and lawyer before moving into politics, changing his world view to appreciate the value of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. A friend of Macdonald and a gifted writer and speaker, McGee was one of the strongest voices for union.
This is a portrait of McGee, painted by Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith in 1868.
McGee's shift in allegiances earned him enemies in the Fenian movement, and he was assassinated while coming home from a session of Parliament, shot at the entrance to his boarding house in Ottawa. His funeral in Montreal brought out the masses.
Shifting back to the First Nations again. It was long a habit of the Blackfoot peoples of the great plains to do what is called a winter count. This was done on an elk skin or a bison skin (in this case the first) each year, recording the most memorable event of the preceding year by a member of the tribe. This one is from the 19th century, featuring images spiraling out from the centre.