Parallel Destinies

Canadian-American Relations West of the Rockies

John M. Findlay and Kenneth S. Coates

  • Published: July 2015
  • Subject Listing: History / Western History
  • Bibliographic information: 328 pp., 8 maps, index, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: N/A in Canada
  • Published with: Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest
  • Series: Emil and Kathleen Sick Book Series in Western History and Biography
  • Contents

The Canadian West and the American Northwest offer a valuable setting for considering issues of borders and borderlands. The regions contain certain similarities, and during the first half of the nineteenth century they were even grouped together as a distinct political and economic unit, called the "Oregon Country" by Americans and the "Columbia Department" of the Hudson's Bay Company by the British.

The essays in this volume - which grew out of a conference commemorating the Oregon Treaty of 1846 - view the boundary between Canada and the United States as a dividing line and also as a regional backbone, with people on each side of the border having key experiences and attitudes in common. In their eloquence and scope, they illustrate how historical study of Canadian-American relations in the West calls into question the parameters of the nation-state.

The border has not had a single constant meaning; rather, its significance has changed over time and varied from group to group. The essays in Part One concern the movement of peoples and capital across a relatively permeable boundary during the nineteenth century. Many people in this era - especially Natives, miners, immigrants, and capitalists - did not regard the international boundary as particularly important. Part Two considers how the United States and Canada took pains to strengthen and enforce the international boundary during the twentieth century. In this era, the nation-state became more assertive about defining and defending the borderline. Part Three offers considerations of the distinctions, both real and imagined, that emerged during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries between Canada and the United States. Its essays examine different schools of history, divergent ideas toward wilderness, and the influence of anti-Americanism on Canadians' view of national development in North America.
John M. Findlay is Professor of History at the University of Washington. Ken S. Coates is Professor of History and Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. Other contributors are Carl Abbott, Michael Fellman, John Lutz, Daniel P. Marshall, Jeremy Mouat, Galen Roger Perras, Chad Reimer, Joseph E. Taylor III, Patricia K. Wood, and Donald Worster.
Preface: Scholars and the Forty-ninth Parallel
Border Crossings: Pattern and Processes along the Canaa-United States Boundary West of the Rockies
No Parallel: American Miner-Soldiers at War with the Nlaka'pamux of the Canadian West
Work, Sex, and Death on the Greath Thoroughfare: Annual Migrations of "Canadian Indians" to the American Pacific Northwest
Borders and Identities among Italian Immigrants in the Pacific Northwest, 1880-1938
Nationalist Narratives and regional Realities: The Political Economy of Railway Development in Southeastern British Columbia, 1895-1905
The Historical Roots of the Canadian-American Salmon Wars
Who Will Defend British Columbia?: Unity of Command on the West Coast, 1934-42
That Long Western Border: Canada, the United States, and a Century of Economic Change
Borders of the Past: The Oregon Boundary Dispute and the Beginnings of Northwest Historiography
Wild, Tame, and Free: Comparing Canadian and U.S. Views of Nature
Sleeping with the Elephant: Reflections of an American-Canadian on Americanization and Anti-Americanism in Canada

"Few scholars have undertaken to explore this unique regional relationship-hence the importance of this work..Parallel Destinies is an important and accessible contribution to the literature of the Canadian-American relationship in the Pacific Northwest. It should be widely read."
-Open Spaces