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Capitalism and Dispossession: The Commodification of the Countryside and the "Improvement" of Mi'kma'ki, 1760-1860

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Capitalism and Dispossession: The Commodification of the Countryside and the "Improvement" of Mi'kma'ki, 1760-1860

Coady, Jesse Watkins (2019) Capitalism and Dispossession: The Commodification of the Countryside and the "Improvement" of Mi'kma'ki, 1760-1860. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Taking mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island as its case studies, this thesis attempts to uncover the mechanisms by which the Mi'kmaq were dispossessed of their lands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Dispossession is here problematized as a process connected to, but distinct from, the imposition of British jurisdiction in Mi'kma'ki following the conclusion of the Seven Years' War. In key respects, dispossession was an inherently local, unpredictable process involving a myriad of actors with disparate motives and interests; at the same time, it was given structural coherence by imperial and colonial land policies, which subjected settlers qua subjects of the Crown to common economic compulsions and constraints. This thesis argues that it was the promotion of capitalist social property relations in particular that provided the greatest impetus for the dispossession of both Mi'kmaq and settlers in this period, giving rise to complex intra- and inter-class dynamics. Although imperial and colonial policies varied widely in their efficacy and application across wide swathes of mostly unpoliceable territory, the promotion of capitalist economic imperatives played a decisive role in facilitating dispossession in even the remotest and most marginal areas. Crucially, it gave rise to widespread squatting, frustrating the authorities' plans for the orderly and profitable settlement of the colony and necessitating a policy of compromise with implicated settlers. By the mid-nineteenth century, authorities largely abandoned their policy of protecting indigenous reserves, opting to sell squatters their improvements in what amounted to a fire-sale of encroached-upon Crown lands.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Coady, Jesse Watkins
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History
Date:13 November 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):Zilberstein, Anya
ID Code:986480
Deposited By: jesse coady
Deposited On:25 Jun 2020 20:03
Last Modified:25 Jun 2020 20:03
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