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Canadian Confederation At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 Britain and therefore British North America BNA declared neutrality The North saw the proclamation as British support of the South which the British recognized as a belligerent English diplomacy did little to defuse this view In the beginning BNA sympathies were generally anti-slavery and anti-secessionist However as the war went on bringing economic difficulties the fear of American attack and a perception that the Norths main aim was not the abolition of slavery but the smashing of the South attitudes changed More and more people north of the frontier began to see a Southern victory as their best defence and guarantee of independence There was a growing fear of annexation The Trent Affair and the Chesapeake incident served to heighten the tension between the North and BNA Although both the North and the South had violated British neutrality the overtly pro-South or at least increasingly anti-North sentiments in BNA made it an inviting base for Confederate agents A conference was held in London England in December 1866 chaired by Sir John A Macdonald and attended by some of the leading Fathers of Confederation No doubt some of the Mothers of Confederation accompanied their husbands to the conference or were happy to welcome them home when the job was done At London Confederation was given its final form and the name Dominion of Canada was chosen for the new nation The British North America Act received Royal Assent March 29 1867 It was to come into effect on July 1 Sir John A was to become the prime minister He was to choose four cabinet members from Canada West Ontario four from Canada East Quebec and two each from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Canada could now proceed to build its continent-wide future On July 1 the new Dominion was busy Celebrating Confederation -- church bells pealed 21-gun salutes were fired and
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