Factors that Influenced the Development of Stereotypes

The people of Canada and America share many commonalities. Settlement of the two countries occurred in the same historical epoch, the settlers came from similar backgrounds and the indigenous populations they conquered were the same. Both countries hosted immigrants of diverse nationaIities and enjoyed similar natural resources including vast frontiers of open land. The political experience of the two countries differed, however, and strongly influenced the development of societal self-images. The revoIt of the American Colonies against the English King and the loyalty of the Canadians to the Crown were crucial in the social development of the two nations. They fought with one another and territorial boundaries were not sec ure until the end of the War of 1812.

The English conquest of the French in Canada, and the subsequent emergence of dual cultural groups, has no counterpart in American history.
We suggest that the pattern of pluralism (resulting from the non-assimilation of the English and French) which was set during the formative stages of the Canadian nation, affected the cultural integration of immigrants who came later from countries other than England and France. In the United States, the second or third generation of foreign born groups moved out of the foreign language enclaves established by the early immigrants and were assimilated into wider st rata of American society.” In contrast, minimal assimilation of similar groups occurred in Canada: The experience of acculturation among the ethnie groups in the United States encouraged the emergence of a sense of national identity and an ideology of “melting pot” egalitarianism. Canadians, on the other hand, retained c10ser identification with their particular cultural heritage and only secondarily perceived themselves as FrenchCanadians, English-Canadians, et al.

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