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"Crusade" for public morals in the Victorian Canada in the context of formation of the Canadian right

UDK - 341.218


S.A. Kokotov

In article legal aspects of the "moral revolution" taking place in the Victorian Canada in the context of fight of colonial communities of the British North America for preservation and strengthening of public morals, public order and its impact on process of formation of the Canadian right are considered.

Process of formation of a system of the Canadian right in general and its sources in particular in a historical retrospective was carried out under the influence of a difficult complex of social and economic, natural and geographical and ethno-confessional factors. The second half of the 19th century characterized by liberalization of social and political life in Great Britain and its self-governed colonies was noted by emergence of such peculiar factor as active and constant fight for strengthening of public morals that became one of symbols of an era known nowadays as "the Victorian era".

Attracts attention that the thesis distributed among the western social scientists, philosophers and political scientists about the "moral" nature of the liberal democracy per se [1] sharply contrasts with the fact that liberal and democratic reforms in Russia of the end of the 20th century resulted in opposite results. According to some representatives of domestic science, our country on a scale of moral progress was rejected in the deep Middle Ages. [2, page 4] In this regard is represented relevant to address not only the critical analysis of theoretical aspects of the concept of the liberal democracy, but also concrete historical experience of those countries which realized it in practice. One of such countries is Canada.

Inhabitants of the British North America (nowadays - Canada) initially did not differ in mass examples of public virtue. In the 17-18th centuries the natives from the British Isles passed for one of "the most aggressive, cruel, violent and blood-thirsty nations". [3] Universal alcoholism was followed by vagrancy (vagrancy), obscene behavior (disorderly conduct), prostitution (streetwalking), gamblings (gambling). [4, P.87] Treating under common law misdemeanors, all these offenses made category of "crimes against public morals" (public/moral order offenses). At the beginning of the 19th century against the background of mass inflow of the persons who were not able and not wishing to fit into the standards of social behavior developing in colonies a situation even more worsened. The Canadian cities and townships appeared before threat of destabilization of public life, further decline of public morals. During this period for many representatives of local communities the concept "social anarchy" became strong to be associated with the concepts "sin" and "immigrants". According to the statistics of the first decades of the 19th century the immigrants (generally Irish) prevailed among the persons brought to court on charges of commission of the crimes stated above. Also their total number grew - if at the beginning of the 19th century they made 12% of total number of the being registered offenses, then to the middle of the century their quantity reached already 35%. [5, P.43] However already by the end of the 19th century the Canadian society could be carried to number most of "the reserved, scrupulous and sanctimonious nations in the world". [3, P.123] Changes in the sphere of public morals and public order were so deep and striking that definition "moral revolution" quite approaches them. Contemporaries called the process which began in the British North America "a crusade for public morals and an order" (a moral order crusade). [6]

It is obvious that so profound changes were not spontaneous. Revival of high standards of public morals in the second half of XIX - the beginning of the 20th century became possible thanks to many factors, two of which should be allocated especially. First of all, this existence in colonial communities of a certain moral potential. In practice it

was expressed that in the Victorian Canada, after England, gradually there was a "consensus" consciousness assuming readiness of local communities to adopt moral and ethical standards of life and behavior of the elite as an example on the one hand, and readiness of the same elite to assume responsibility for maintenance of public morals - with another. Its basis was formed by the so-called "Victorian system of values" which incorporated religiousness and the strict moral principles, patriotism and social discipline, belief in justice of hierarchical structure of society, conformism and readiness to submit to the established rules. [7, Page 55-56]

In the legallistic plan the specified potential was realized through creation of numerous public associations from which it is possible to distinguish League of moderation (The Temperance League), the Union of women for Christian moderation (The Women&s Christian Temperance Union), Society of Christian diligence (Christian&s Endeavor Society), League of citizens (The Citizens League), Association of Catholic youth (YMCA), Salvation Army, Association of citizens on maintenance of an order (The Civic Improvement Association). Opposing "a cult of self-tolerance and his god - pleasure", these and other organizations not only consolidated society, but also formed the atmosphere of intolerance to violations of public morals, manifestations of civil irresponsibility. For example, many residents of the Canadian cities at the end of the 19th century appeared in police stations only as a result of complaints of neighbors that they did not shovel away snow in front of the houses.

The second factor which provided success of "moral revolution" became the appeal of society to such tool as the right. Consecutive pressure upon the power for the purpose of legal fixing of strict standards of public morals and development of effective measures on their protection was considered by the specified associations as one of the major tasks. It was expressed in steady growth of petitions and appeals to the authorities with the requirement of every possible toughening of the attitude towards the persons who were not wishing to adopt new standards of social responsibility. As a result, in 1824 the legislative assemblies of colonies everywhere costituted the English act of vagrancy (Vagrancy Act) which conferred to the Canadian constables unlimited powers of authority on targeting of public order. Then a series of the acts which put production and turnover of alcoholic products under control of the state followed. [8] Joined in this process and municipal authorities. Charters about incorporation of the Canadian cities granted them the right bylaws (by-laws) to impose a ban on gamblings, to toughen punishments for prostitution and procurement. At insistance of citizens sanctions for violation of "God's Day" were everywhere expanded (i.e. Sundays). All tramps, idlers (vagabonds) and other persons using ill fame and also the persons in state of intoxication either causing displeasure of citizens, or wandering at night on the city were subject to arrest and the subsequent penalty for each perfect offense. In case of lack of means the 30-day imprisonment was necessary. [5, P. 49]

Public associations put pressure not only upon legislators, but also upon police and judges. The overall performance of the Canadian municipal police, by the end of XIX more than for 80% staffed with representatives of the white Protestant majority, sharply increased. Indirectly says the fact that by the end of the 19th century the magistrate's courts of the Canadian cities considered up to 3 thousand cases a year (till 5-10 affairs in a day) about it, and their considerable part connected with disorderly conduct was excited by police. The contribution to strengthening of public morals and public order was brought also by judges. Being representatives of the middle class, they were carriers not only the systems of the Victorian values, but also the interests of local communities. Not accidentally for the same offenses they everywhere softened punishments for members of local communities, and toughened them for visitors. For the same reason they consistently applied tougher sanctions for infringement of property and public morals, than for crimes against the personality. [9, P. 228] As result of joint efforts of society and state, by the end of the 19th century in Canada the steady tendency to decrease in number of arrests for violation of public morals and public order was created. From now on voluntary following to the standard code of ethical behavior, feeling of a civic duty and responsibility, law-abiding not only became the integral lines of life of Canadians, but also got the legal fixing in norms of the Canadian driver's license.

Summing up the result, it is necessary to recognize that experience of Canada on creation of liberal and democratic society shows that the public morals do not arise spontaneously. Considerably she is developed and supported by the right and this conclusion is obviously important in the context of problems,

facing the Russian society. The right, the law - as the imperious voice of political community - is capable to play a role of the powerful training tool. And though it cannot be applied to creation of the "virtuous" mode, but with its help it is possible and has to limit distribution of the defects menacing to society.

The article reveals law aspects of & #34; moral revolution" in Victorian Canada in the context of struggle for public moral and social order in colonial communities of British North America and its impact on the process of formation of Canadian law.

The key words: Canadian law, Victorian epoch, liberal democracy, public moral, social order.

List of references

1. Clor H.M. Public Morality and Liberal Society. University of Notre Dame Press. 1996.
2. V. Pastukhov. Legality as "condicio sine qua non" of the Russian democracy.//Comparative constitutional review. 2007. No. 2.
3. Perkin H. The Origins of Modern British Society. London. 1969.
4. Canada and Its Provinces. In 22 vols. Vol. XIII. The Atlantic Provinces. Toronto. 1913-1914.
5. Weaver J. Crimes, Constables, and Courts. Order and Transgression in Canadian City. 18161970. Montreal. 1995.
6. National Archives of Canada. RG-5. A-1. 2178-88. Petition on May 9, 1839.
7. L.A. Fadeyeva. "A professional class" in the English social history of the 19th century.//Modern and contemporary history, 1998. No.4.
8. The Liquor License Act. 1877; Canada Temperance Act, 1878; Canada Temperance Act, 1886,


9. KatzM., DoucetM., SternM. The Social Organization of Early Industrial Capitalism. Harvard University Press. 1982.

About the author

Kokotov of Page A. - candidate of historical sciences, professor of the Bryansk state university of a name of the academician I.G. Petrovsky,

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