Making Good: Law and Moral Regulation in Canada, 1867-1939.

By Carolyn Strange and Tina Loo

© 1997

Young Canada was often portrayed as a virginal woman or as a healthy frontiersman, and the ideals of purity, industry, and self-discipline were celebrated as essential features of the Canadian identity. To ensure that Canadians lived up to this image, different levels of government passed a variety of laws and created an expanding range of institutions to enforce them. Making Goodlooks at the changing relationship between law and morality in Canada during a critical phase of nation-building, from Confederation to the onset of the Second World War. The authors argue that though the law played a significant role in giving Canada a moral cast, the law's homogenizing tendencies did not always meet with anticipated success, as values deemed 'good' by the government were constantly repudiated by those on whom they were imposed.

Strange and Loo examine both the major institutions which patrolled morality - the Department of Indian Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the North West Mounted Police - and the agencies that worked at local levels, such as police forces, schools, correctional facilities, juvenile and family courts, and morality squads. They also look at many fascinating acts of resistance to moral ordinances, showing that not all Canadians shared the same vision of goodness. Certain themes which run throughout the book include the concept of the internal threat to the foundations of national decency, the influence of the United States on Canada's moral order, and the regional discrepancies in the success of moral governance.

Through topics as diverse as gambling, marriage and divorce, and sexual deviance, Making Good shows that character-building was critical to the broader project of nation-building. The book will be a welcome addition to undergraduate courses in Canadian history, and will interest social historians; historians of Native peoples, the working class, and women; criminologists; and political scientists.

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Product Details

  • Series: Themes in Canadian History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 150 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.8in x 0.7in x 8.7in
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SKU# SP000216

  • PUBLISHED JUN 1997

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    Regular Price: $26.95

    ISBN 9780802078698
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  • PUBLISHED JUN 1997

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Quick Overview

Examines the official institutions which regulated moral conduct in Canada, and analyses the ways in which different social groups had distinct relationships to legal modes of regulation.

Making Good: Law and Moral Regulation in Canada, 1867-1939.

By Carolyn Strange and Tina Loo

© 1997

Young Canada was often portrayed as a virginal woman or as a healthy frontiersman, and the ideals of purity, industry, and self-discipline were celebrated as essential features of the Canadian identity. To ensure that Canadians lived up to this image, different levels of government passed a variety of laws and created an expanding range of institutions to enforce them. Making Goodlooks at the changing relationship between law and morality in Canada during a critical phase of nation-building, from Confederation to the onset of the Second World War. The authors argue that though the law played a significant role in giving Canada a moral cast, the law's homogenizing tendencies did not always meet with anticipated success, as values deemed 'good' by the government were constantly repudiated by those on whom they were imposed.

Strange and Loo examine both the major institutions which patrolled morality - the Department of Indian Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the North West Mounted Police - and the agencies that worked at local levels, such as police forces, schools, correctional facilities, juvenile and family courts, and morality squads. They also look at many fascinating acts of resistance to moral ordinances, showing that not all Canadians shared the same vision of goodness. Certain themes which run throughout the book include the concept of the internal threat to the foundations of national decency, the influence of the United States on Canada's moral order, and the regional discrepancies in the success of moral governance.

Through topics as diverse as gambling, marriage and divorce, and sexual deviance, Making Good shows that character-building was critical to the broader project of nation-building. The book will be a welcome addition to undergraduate courses in Canadian history, and will interest social historians; historians of Native peoples, the working class, and women; criminologists; and political scientists.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Themes in Canadian History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 150 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.8in x 0.7in x 8.7in
  • Author Information

    Carolyn Strange is a senior fellow in the Research School of Humanities at the Australian National University.



    Tina Loo is Associate Professor at the Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto, and author of Toronto's Girl Problem: The Perils and Pleasures of the City, 1880-1930.

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