Twitter and the Rebellions of 1837/38

As we have looked at the events in Tunisia and Egypt, it has been remarkable how social networking, in particular Twitter, has helped (arguably) spur on these revolutions.

Thinking about the Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada and assuming all things are equal, would social networking sites like Twittter have pushed these rebellions beyond just minor skirmishes and perhaps into the territory of revolution? What does this say about modern-day democracy and revolution?


21 thoughts on “Twitter and the Rebellions of 1837/38

  1. In Egypt social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are being used to organize protests and demonstrations, these are powerful tools which are actually used for important things. Granted, their popularity has been based off telling the world meaningless bits of information about oneself. If social networking sites were possible in the rebellions of 1837 and 1838 the outcome could have been quite different. The Rebellions are deemed unsuccessful because they were very quickly put to rest by the British – this is mainly attributed to a lack of organization. If such technology existed in the 1800's it is possible that the rebels could have become more organized. While Mackenzie, Papineau, and Howe were very good at raising support through their words they were by no means strategists. If news could have travelled faster in the rebellions it is possible that our history would be quite different. However, earlier rebellions turned into revolution with messages only being delivered by horseback and word – of – mouth, with the respect to the Canadian rebellions if more people could have been roused it is possible that the rebellions could have turned into revolution. If more of a military – like strategy was in place for the rebels then the rebellions could have been successful, this could be achieved through whatever means, not necessarily through the Internet – but such sites could have helped spread the word. If sites such as Twitter were used to create a more complicated strategy of fighting that would have certainly helped the rebels in 1837 and 1838.

  2. The rebbelions of 1837 and 1838 would have been better organized and perhaps had a more desirous outcome for the rebellers if they had used modern social media. Modern day democracy is based on public pressure exerted through media. These social networking site allow for greater individual expression and are used to inspire people to stand up for what they beieve in and promote it. Sometimes, however those rebelling find themselves in a bloodthirsty civil war that does not lead to the desired political reform. The problem with using social networking sites is that once you start a revolution there is no going back.

  3. Because of sites like twitter, facebook, and other social networking sites, it is easy to communicate and organize compared to 1837/38. At that point in history news could travel so slowly that a major event, say a rebellion, may reach the outermost settlements in as much as 3 weeks. If the information concerning Egypt travelled that slowly, there would be little to no rebellion, and people living in other continents would have never heard of the matter. Awareness of Egypt's situation is huge because of sites like these. Youtube along with many other news sites offers a live stream of all the events in Egypt. This is exactly what the Egyptian government didn't want to happen, and this is why they tried to prevent the use of social networking. The internet is now such a power that governments are actually afraid of what it can do, and this is the perfect example.

  4. Thanks to the internet, and more specificly social networking sites information can travel to people in different locations very quickly. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are availible to huge numbers of people and groups can be created on the sites for various purposes. Therefore if a rebellion would occur in this day and age it would be very probable that it would grow on a social networking site. All it takes is one post to a public group for a discussion to get started which draws more and more people. Compared to back in 1837 where information could take weeks or months to travel across areas of the country. Also not to mention any obsticles on route such as opposing groups who did not want such information to be released or spread. If modern day social networking sites were availible it would be likely that the skirmishes could have become full out rebellions and perhaps a revolution because the social networking sites would help with the sharing of information and planning of events.Compared to the situation in Egypt, if information could not move fast and efficiently the rebellions would not have even started and what is happening now would not be possible without the "tweets" and facebook posts. In conclusion, yes social networking sites have made a huge push for rebellions and letting the voice of the people to be heard as they give the tools needed to share information.

  5. As seen in the Egyptian revolution, social networking plays a huge roll in modern society today. What started as a small group of youth who wanted change in their country ended up being a country-wide revolution all due to people standing up for themselves. Social networking comes into play here because of how it spread the news of the revolution which not only affected Egypt, but also the entire world. An important factor to think about is the fact that social networking and the internet in general helped change what could have been a small rally to a global fight. People from all over the world, not just Egyptians, were watching these events take place and they supported them every step of the way. Because of the internet and social networking sites like Twitter, people knew what was going on in Egypt and so people all over the world stood by what was right.In comparison to the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada, if social networking was used as a means of communication, I think that the rebellions would have definitely been affected. In Egypt's case, social networking helped bring people together which is what the rebellions of 1837 were lacking- numbers. If there would have been an increased number of supporters towards the cause, there might have been a revolution. Again in Egypt's case no weapons were used and yet the people got what they wanted because enough people were brave enough to stand and fight the regime. Although there is no comparison between the population in Egypt and the population of Upper and Lower Canada in 1837, the amount of people is relative. If a significant majority of the people wanted revolution, there might have been one. Social networking also helped get many youth involved in Egypt. From what I've learned of the rebellions, the reform groups were both lead and supported by old men. In Egypt, the main source for the revolution was the youth who made up a great deal of the protesters. Because social networking is a relatively modern thing, generally younger people would use it more than the elderly. This not only helps the younger, sprouting generation to get involved, but it also helps insure that the younger generation knows what is right and what is wrong because it is easy for governments to influence growing minds. With social networking, young people have a chance to contribute to what was essentially a fight for old men.Another point to bring up is awareness not only in the national sense, but the global sense as well. Twitter and other social networking sites helped spread the news to other parts of the world that there was a revolution in Egypt. This helped create an atmosphere of revolution all throughout the world where people, including non-Egyptians, stood together against the oppression in Egypt. If the rebellions of 1837-38 had this benefit, the world would have known of what was happing in Upper and Lower Canada. Britain would have been contacted and so they would have done something to please the people, rather than fight them, in order for them to appear like good people. If the whole world is watching, it is hard to commit evil things. Just like in Mubarak's case, after he was exposed of being an oppressor, he was put under the world's Jumbotron and it was hard for him to do or say anything in Egypt without being criticized by the world. If this happened in Canada in 1837, Britain would have been way more lenient to giving the crowds what they wanted just to make themselves look better. The end result of this could have been a revolution in Canada.

  6. New forms of media since the 1837-1838 Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada would have inevitably led to the more widespread growth of the rebellions. In general, inventions since the time of the rebellions such as T.V, the internet and the phone would have informed more people of the intent of these rebellions. As a result of these inventions, more people would have rallied behind the cause of the rebellions. The best way to look at the significance of these inventions would be to look at the most recent rebellion occurring in Egypt today and compare them how news of the rebellions were spread in 1837 and 1838. In one aspect, these two rebellions are very similar. They both originated from the desire of the people to have a more democratic system of government. However, the scale of which people are rebelling is completely different. Nowadays, social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and I would even throw Skype in there, have undoubtedly had a huge impact on the ongoing rebellions in Egypt. Facebook has so many uses when trying to organize something of this scale. The option to “Like”, create Events and chat for free with any added friend allows people to communicate like never before. Twitter allows people to “Follow” you and receive information instantly when it is posted. While Skype allows you to call anywhere in the world as long as the person has Skype for free. These three tools alone already boost the potential of the rebellions because of how fast the information can be spread. However, this was not the case for the 1837-1838 Rebellions. At this time, they did not even have cars let alone instant messaging. It is hard to imagine life at that time since so many things have been invented. Papineau and Mackenzie had to tour all over their respective provinces to spread the word of the desire for change in their governments. They inevitably could not reach out to nearly as many people and would have a tough task in organizing a rebellion when no one is just a phone call away. They could not Tweet where to meet or update their status on Facebook as one might think today. They had none of those luxuries, hence why it was hard for them to drum up support for their cause. I cannot imagine all of the effort Papineau and Mackenzie had to go through to organize these rebellions. I think that if social networking sites existed at the time that without a doubt these rebellions would have resulted in more than just minor skirmishes. I believe Papineau and Mackenzie would have accomplished their goal in overthrowing the government and reforming it to their desire. I do believe this would be categorized as a revolution because there would have been a lot more support and I think they would have achieved an immediate satisfactory result. I would argue that modern-day democracy starts with the will of the people to desire change and get in a mob-mentality state of mind. Looking at revolutions in the past, each had achieved their ultimate goal. In Egypt, revolution started at the grassroots of society and grew from there. They ended up achieving their ultimate goal seeing as President Mubarak stepped down. In the case of the 1837-1838 rebellions I believe that social networking would have improved the numbers behind their cause and turned these rebellions into a successful revolution.

  7. In 1837 and 1838, the rebellions did not succeed, some factors to this failure was the fact that they were not organized and that they did not have enough people for the rebellion.It could have taken days or even weeks for a message to be received in a different city. Now, website like Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites, give people the ability to share something with the world with just a few clicks. A very good example of this, is the revolution in Egypt. It started with a small group of people who wanted to change their country and is now a worldwide issue. Many people have been following the revolution and supporting it just because of information put up on these networking sites. If these sites were present during 1837 and 1838, the outcome might have been completely different. It is very possible that there could have been a rebellion in Canada and the country would be completely different from the way it is today.

  8. Technology unites the world. Thoughts of people from all across the planet float around on social networking sites and blogs, allowing people to easily connect with each other and share their thoughts on everything from choice breakfast food to powerful ideas about democracy and revolution. The events in Tunisia and Egypt are huge examples of how technology has the potential to influence political decisions and progress in our countries and gives the general public a chance to connect with others sharing the same views as them. Through sites such as Twitter, a message can easily be portrayed and attract plenty of attention from other users of the site. In 1837 and 1838, word of rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada would have been slow to find its way into many citizen’s homes. Relying on people riding on horseback from town to town to spread the word would have caused incredibly slow progress, and any new details would be virtually impossible to relay. Organizing events would take an incredible amount of effort and would have to be planned with plenty of time for the details to be reached by the general public as well, resulting in most of the attempts at rebellion unorganized and easy to stamp out. Using such sites to organize political revolutions is an incredibly efficient way to rally people to prove a point to governments. With enough support,rebellions could be organized enough to have significant impact, such as in Tunisia and Egypt. Democracy and revolution are thus often in the hands of the public thanks to social networking and the internet.

  9. There is no doubt that social networking sites have had a great affect on the world. These sites act as amplifiers, for any event around the world. Such as egypt, because of the news, facebook, and twitter. The incidents that have happend have turned into a global issue, instead of a local issue. There is no question that the news, and social networking would change the outcome of the 1837 1838 rebellions. Imagine if the message papineau, and Mackenzie were trying to convey, was brodcasted globaly. People would finally know the truth, I know there would be changes within the goverment. Also, if news and social networking existed, the goverment couldn't have "Squashed" the rebellions as easily as they did. So because of how social networking, and the news has affected the incidents in egypt. I think they would have an even bigger impact on the 1837-38 rebellions in upper and lower canada.

  10. Definitely. Twitter and other Internet tools have a much more powerful effect on information transition. In 1837, if the Canadians were using the Internet to give latest news from their allies, there could be a revolution. The revolution did not happen because the British government put off people's fire quickly and a lot of folks did not know what was happening. However, if the Internet existed, the people might be organized earlier and in a shorter time by their leaders. They would have actually fought for their rights before the government compromised.This tells me that the information transition is important. Democracy is growing quickly and becoming more powerful than before since more people could know what is going on in their countries. The strength of democracy around the world is growing. Of course, today’s revolution is easier to happen than before because a revolution needs the support from masses.

  11. If social networking sites existed during the Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada in 1837 and 1838, there is no doubt that they would have caused these minor skirmishes to turn into the territory of revolution. People are the same no matter what generation they are in, if they have something available to them that will make their life easier, they will use it. Using social networking sites helps to enable people to speak their mind and communicate with others all around the world. With the use of Twitter, Skype and Facebook, information and news is moving so quickly and you can find out anything you want just by making an online search or contacting another person. I think that these sites are quite helpful and they are nice to have so we can communicate with our peers but may cause much more controversy. Just with a simple tweet or post, someone may want to make known the injustices they are experiencing and their complaints. Many other people could be experiencing the same thing and this could spark the idea that leads to an eventual revolution. Everyone has different views on how things should be done and organized and not everyone will always agree. Now with these social networking sites, we may see more ideas put forth about how people think a country should be run. This could cause chaos that could overthrow the government even in Canada. For example, if Canada were to get rid of the Canada pension plan, there would be a large group of people who would want to revolt, which could lead to the defeat of our government.Twitter and other sites not only help to spread news on a national scale but on a global scale. For example, with the problems in Egypt the rest of the world showed support in what the revolutionaries were trying to achieve. Things that are happening all over the world now are affecting everyone; we are finding out information and communicating with people all around the world. Now anyone could start a revolution, not just a person with a great amount of power.

  12. Technology has the power to change the world. In Egypt a rebellion was started by a small number of youth who wanted to see change in their country. Social networking gave these youth a voice and allowed them to share their thoughts and views with hundreds of people. Protests and demonstrations were organized using social networks and the more people who found out about the rebellion; the larger it grew, eventually leading to a nation-wide rebellion. Not only did social networking help them to gain the support of people in Egypt, it enabled Egyptians to share news with the world. If this type of technology was available in 1837 and 1838 Canada as we know it could have been very different. The failure of the 1837 and 1838 rebellions is often said to be due to a general lack of organization and support. The rebellion leaders, Louis-Joseph Papineau, William Lyon Mackenzie and Joseph Howe, spread the word about their views and organized their rebellions by newspaper, word-of-mouth and by getting people on horseback to go to different towns and spread the word. Broadcasting their message on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter would have been much more effective. They could have gained the necessary support for their rebellions to succeed. Could social networking have had a positive effect on the Red River Rebellions lead by Louis Riel in 1869?

  13. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are powerful tools that aid people in getting their views and opinions across, whether it is to the world or simply their "friends" and followers. As these types of sites are a large part of society today, the information is easily accessible to everyone and anyone who had access to the internet. As a result, news spreads quickly and people are informed more quickly as well.If these types of social networking sites were around and available to the people (because there would be no point to it if no one could access the information) during the rebellions of 1837-1838, news would have travelled to and had an impact on a larger group of people. As news travelled and was spread primarily by word-of-mouth and by messengers on horseback, the information would not travel at the same speed or reach as many people. With a social networking site however, more of the population would be able to hear the information and voiced their opinions on the subject.Whether or not these types of social networking sites would have had such an impact that the rebellions of 1837-1838 would have turned into a revolution is debatable. This is because it is not necessarily how the news travelled and reached people but how it impacted people and what each individual decided to do with the information. If some people decided to take radical action, the rebellions could have turned in a revolution however if people took a more reasonable approach, I do not believe that they would have turned into a revolution as many people feel that they need more concrete evidence behind the information before taking such radical actions.I think that in today's society, people have greater freedom to say what they want and when they want to say it. As a result, the people have a greater impact and say in what the government of the country does because in essence, they can harness the power of their fellow citizens to back them up if they feel the government is making the wrong decision. Overall, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have changed the way that society works as the people have more and more ways to figure out what is really going in their country and in the world.

  14. Social Networking sites definitely would have pushed these small scale rebellions into the territory of revolution due to the organization and ability to spread information quickly. Back then, to spread information to one another they had to rely on a messenger on a horse. Sending a tweet to tell everyone about whats going on is more effective than sending out a few people on horses and waiting until they can tell everyone.In todays society, due to social networking sites such as twitter, facebook, etc, we are able to say what we want. Therefore, in a sense, we have a greater amount of "say" in democracy now than before. In revolutions now, because people are able to tell the world what is going on, it is even more difficult for the leader in power that is causing the people to suffer to stay in power due to the world focusing their attention on them. It is easier to do "bad" or "evil" in a sense when no one is aware of it.

  15. Social networking is changing our world, and not just by making it easier to communicate. Through the use of social networks, we are able to protest tyrannous governments and show the higher powers that we want change. In the past, we have had to rely on newspapers and word of mouth to spread the word of rebellion. We now have the advantage of instantaneous international communication that is widely available, and we can share our thoughts and beliefs like never before. The Egyptian population has long had problems with its leader, but only now are they able to show that they do not approve. At first, the protests were only in Egypt but now they have spread to Libya because the Libyan people heard about the Egyptian events through social networking sites and realized that they too could make a difference. Democracy is all about the people and their wishes. Unfortunately it is increasingly being hindered by miles of red tape and policy. It is only when a great number of people are able to publicly show their disapproval of a governmental action that the government can make the change. Previously, it was very difficult to organize rallies because we had to rely on public media like newspapers or television, and these could have been controlled by the government of a country so that the people did not get the message. Now, we have the free medium of the internet and we can spread the word without interference.

  16. As technology develops, our daily life in society has been changing unexpectedly fast. Especially, social networking has been developed rapidly, and now in almost everywhere if you can reach the internet, you are able to communicate with a person who lives thousand miles away from you. The modern history has also effected with it. For instance, the rebellion which occurred in Egypt, shows how the social networking can play a huge roll in modern society today. Unlike the old time when people had to announce news ear by ear, today’s modern society can spread news briskly to the entire world. As a result, people from all over the world, not just Egyptians, were watching these events take place and they supported them every step of the way. Because of the internet and social networking site, people knew what was happening in Egypt and so people all over the world stood by what was right. In 1800’s, the rebellions are often unsuccessful because they were very quickly put to rest by the British. This is mainly attributed to a lack of organization. Luckily, if they had social net working such as twitter or facebook, it would become easily organisable, and the rebellion could possibly success. Social networking helped get youth involved in this recent rebellion. In the past, reform groups were usually led by old men, but in this case, it is different. The majority of reform groups in this rebellion are young, and this means that the way world usually goes is changing right now. We are not sure how the way world usually goes will change, but we are sure that with social networking, young people can have more chances to contribute to what was essentially a fight for old men.

  17. Social media has become a powerful force in driving social change in today's world. In countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya we are seeing rebel groups and protests being organised through social media. This presents an easy way for the leaders of the revoloutions to recruit people to their causes. Without such a system, it is extremely different to organize a large number of people into resistance against the government. As we are currently seeing in many Arab regimes, this technology makes it very easy to eventually cause the overthrow of a government.In early to mid 19th century Canada, there was no such technology. The rebellions of 1837-38 ended in failure not because of a lack of will to rebel, but because of a lack of information about the cause. In those days information had to be spread by word of mouth and therefore it was extremely difficult for revolutionaries to organise a large enough force to overthrow the government. Perhaps if the leaders of Canada's rebellions had had tools such as facebook available to them, the rebellions would have been successful, and Canada would be very different than it is today.

  18. Our generation has grown up with technology and media playing important roles in our every day lives. Although we may not realize it, we are exposed to many different forms of media on a daily basis including advertising, television, the internet and social networking. Reflecting on history and specifically the Rebellions of 1837-1838 that took place in Upper and Lower Canada, it is fair to assume that current day media sources would have changed the outcome of these rebellions had they been available. In particular, media would have allowed the public to connect and share ideas and as a result, increased awareness on the rebellions. Current day rebellions such as the Egypt rebellion that has recently been in our news prove how much the media can impact social revolution and indirectly create change. Through media sources such as Facebook, Twitter and other online social networking domains, citizens were able to unite and come together for a common purpose which is rallying together in order to change government, and create a more democratic system. Although the Rebellions of 1837-1838 and the current day rebellions in Egypt have similar intents, the methods used to induce change are very different. While citizens today are used to a fast paced world where information comes readily and is very current, in historic rebellions, a desire for change was spread over long periods of time and mainly by word of mouth. Due to this long process involved in spreading the word of change, past rebellions have not been able to reach the magnitudes and gain the supporters as seen in current day rebellions. There is no doubt that the use of social networking is key to success in current day politics. The use of different forms of social media allow for ideas to be spread with speed and kept up to date at all times. This increases the awareness on issues and in turn helps gain followers, which allows rebellions such as the ones in Tunisia and Egypt to have significant impacts. Perhaps the outcome of the rebellions in Canadian history would have been very different had social media been invented.

  19. Social networking has no doubt transformed modern day society and its citizens. News spreads like wildfire on sites such as twitter, but this fast paced world has become "the norm". We have adapted to this new world and use it to our advantage in several aspects of our lives. We see evidence of this in Egypt where revolution is occurring as a result of people becoming aware of issues concerning them through social networking sites.Looking back at history and comparing modern day society to societies long ago, we have to wonder, if they had what we have in terms of social networking domains, would our society be different today? Looking back at the rebellions of 1837-38, we wonder the same thing. News spreads extremely quickly now, whereas in the 1800's, news was spread by word of mouth. This suggests that it would have taken more time to educate less people about the issues the rebellions were trying to resolve. If more people had been aware of the issues in Upper and Lower Canada, the rebellions would have most likely had a much larger impact than they have, probably resulting in a very different modern day society.

  20. Communication in the 1800s was much more difficult than it is today with social networking sites and news that can be instantaneously received through the internet. News from North America could take months to reach Europe and spread across the continent. Most likely, news of such rebellions would have remained isolated solely to the communities being affected. No doubt had Twitter been available in the 19th century, the rebellions in 1837-38 would have generated a much larger revolution, on a global scale. Not only does the internet allow for faster communication, information is also much more readily available online. People would have been more educated about the reasons for rebelling and the history behind the movements, rather than relying on misleading information from the oligarchy government. Back then the monarch would have had much more censorship about the news released and information that people had. With the internet, Canadians would have been informed of the reform and unrest of the 1830s occurring back in England. The British government was also undergoing political reform due to the industrial revolution. Canadians would have realized that the rebellions were not just an issue of monarch control in Upper and Lower Canada, but a global movement. The media would have also played an important role in the rebellions. Many peoples’ opinions are highly influenced by the media, and more people would have joined the rebellions as a result of the spotlight attention the rebellions would have been given. The media tends to sensationalize controversial stories, which would amplify the public’s concern about the issues and revolution occurring.

  21. Social Networking tools can create organization in situations such as a protest. Unfortunately this is not the use of these sites, but in certain circumstances they have proven to aid protestors greatly. First I will quickly sum up the event of the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada:-In Lower Canada the French believe they were not being treated equally in government which led to many protests in 1837/38. The French, led by Papineau, wanted changed in the way they were being governed. After a series of unsuccessful battles the French protestors, known as the patriotes, were defeated. -In Upper Canada the disagreements was between the torries (societies ruling, upper class) and the ordinary people, known as reformers. Led by William Lyon Mackenzi, the reformers began protesting the system by which they were governed. After a series of uprisings, they too were over thrown. Neither of the protesting forces had been coordinated as the British troops send to have a chance at winning. The patriotes and reformers did not have the tools to successfully coordinate themselves. Using certain social networking tools such as Twitter could potentially have aided the protestors in their battle against their current government

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