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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two legal history articles in CHR in advance online

Both focus on the history of ideas in law. The first, from Queen's Department of history doctoral candidate Peter Price, is 'Fashioning a Constitutional Narrative: John S. Ewart and the Development of a ‘Canadian Constitution.’' Online here. Here's the abstract:

John Skirving Ewart (1849–1933) was one of the most controversial public figures in early-twentieth-century Canada. With a background as an experienced lawyer, Ewart wrote extensively on Canadian law and national independence. This paper examines Ewart's private and public writings, focusing on the way in which he crafted a new and unique narrative of the Canadian constitution that positioned Canada as historically and politically distinct from the British Empire. At a time when a robust sense of imperialism energized much of English Canada, Ewart's ideas were controversial and contested. Assessing Ewart's constitutional narrative provides a way of understanding the early development of independent Canadian nationalism and the constitutional changes that emerged in the mid-twentieth century.
And from David Tough, also a doctoral candidate at Carleton, currently teaching at Trent, an article on the legislative history of the 1917 income tax act, "‘The rich … should give to such an extent that it will hurt’: ‘Conscription of Wealth’ and Political Modernism in the Parliamentary Debate on the 1917 Income War Tax," here.  The abstract:

The parliamentary debates on the Income War Tax in the summer of 1917 were marked by fierce criticisms from Liberal members who argued that the tax measure fell short of the ideal of ‘conscription of wealth’ that had been in wide circulation in the months leading up to the debate. Scholars have repeatedly pointed out that ‘conscription of wealth’ rhetoric, which attempted to link the unfair sacrifices of the war effort to the need for income taxation, and revealed a rapidly polarizing political climate at the end of the war, was the key inspiration for the introduction of the Income War Tax. However, the use of similar rhetoric by parliamentarians, and the call for ‘radical’ taxation across political differences, suggests that something else – a shared desire for a modernist ‘break from the past’ – was at work in the debate.

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