The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1970s
7 “Anglo-conformity” and “Incorporation into the Anglo-Celtic Culture”: A Comparison of Assimilation Policies in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1960s
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“Anglo-conformity” and “Incorporation into the Anglo-Celtic Culture”
A Comparison of Assimilation Policies in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1960s
Policies of assimilation were adopted in Canada and Australia during what may be called the “nationalist era.” Towards the end of the nineteenth century modern English-speaking Canada and Australia came to define their national identities based on the myth of British race patriotism. This was reinforced and complemented by an emphasis on preserving both countries as white nations. They then both received mass non-British migration and consequently assimilation policies were adopted to incorporate these migrants into the Anglo-conformist (adherence to the Anglo-centric culture in Canada) or Anglo-Celtic cultures.
Britishness and Whiteness
Britishness or British race patriotism formed the foundation of the national identities of both English-speaking Canada and Australia. From a wide range of speeches, parliamentary debates, and newspaper articles in the two nations, we can see how in this period both English-speaking Canada and Australia saw themselves as members ← 195 | 196 → of a worldwide British race. A prime illustration of this is Empire Day—which, although a Canadian invention, was the annual focal point for both nations in their celebration of being “British.” Canada and Australia both experienced industrialisation in the late nineteenth century. As a consequence of this there was rapid change and associated social trauma. English-speaking Canadians and the Australian colonists along with other Western societies at the time sought emotional security...
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