PowerPoint Presentations

I have eight different presentations that will be of interest to groups interested in Canadian history. Each is approximately forty minutes long and is illustrated by contemporarydrawings, portraits, maps, and other visual materials of the time. Although my presentation fee is modest and negotiable, I must ask for payment of my travel, expenses, by car or public transit, from my home in Kingston, Ontario. For further information, please contact me by email at jeanraebaxter@cogeco.ca.

Jean Rae Baxter

"Loyal They Remained"

During and after the American Revolution, between 70,000 and 100,000 Loyalists fled or were driven from the country that became the USA. When you consider that the total white population of the Thirteen Colonies was about 2.5 million, that is a considerable loss. How did this happen! And what did the future hold for the Loyalists? In this presentation I focus upon critical historical events and/or situations in the years from 1777 to 1793. These are:
First: General Burgoyne's defeat at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.
Second: Major Patrick Ferguson's defeat at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780.
Third: British occupation of Charleston, South Carolina, from 1780 until the evacuation of Loyalists in December, 1782.
Fourth: The experience of the Indigenous People.
Fifth: The reunion of families and the building of new lives.
Sixth: The introduction of legislation in 1793 to bring an end to slavery in Upper Canada.

This presentation includes the experience of the Indigenous people and of the enslaved Black population as well as that of settlers with European ancestry, because each has woven a unique strand into the complex fabric of Canada as we know it today.

Winter of Discontent

In the 1830s, very few in Upper Canada had any interest in Upper Canada becoming a republic like the United States. But many deplored the system, in which an entrenched group of privileged families—the Family Compact—enjoyed all the province's wealth and power.

South of the border, William Lyon Mackenzie, in exile after the failure of his attempt at revolution, convinced sympathizers that most Canadians would welcome an invasion. In late February, 1838, an American armed force crossed the ice from Sandusky, Ohio, and invaded defenceless Pelee Island. Although the political situation in Upper Canada had not reached the state of brother against brother, it was getting close. Loyalty ran deep, but like the ice on Lake Erie that winter, fifteen inches thick, the currents had hollowed it out from underneath. Those trusting it were on very thin ice.

Jean Rae Baxter

Jean Rae Baxter

The Education of a Leader

When Joseph Brant was eighteen years old, Sir William Johnson, who was married by Mohawk rites to Joseph's sister Molly, sent him to the Moor Indian Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut.

This school is now Dartmouth College. At the Moor School Brant took the first steps toward earning his name Thayendanegea, "One Who Places Two Bets," for his ambition was two-fold. Through courage, leadership, hard work and considerable cunning, he became renowned both as a war chief of the Mohawk Nation and as a statesman skilled in diplomacy. On one of his two missions to England of behalf of the native people, he refused to bow to King George, asserting, "I am a prince in my own land, but I will gladly shake your hand." Recognizing that education had opened all doors to him, throughout his life Brant was a champion of education for the indigenous people.

Jean Rae Baxter

The Governor and His Lady

The first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, and his wife Elizabeth had a rare partnership. He was a visionary whose reach sometimes exceeded his grasp, and she was a true child of the Enlightenment. This presentation tells how they met and married and how they worked together during their five years in Upper Canada. He established the Parliamentary system of government in the province and struggled to abolish slavery in Upper Canada. She left us in her book Mrs. Simcoe's Diary and in her hundreds of painting an unsurpassed record of what life was like in late 18th century Upper Canada.

Jean Rae Baxter
Jean Rae Baxter

The History of Fort Frontenac

It all began with the beaver. The City of Kingston owes its existence to the beaver. If it were not for the beaver, Fort Frontenac would never have been built. And if Fort Frontenac had not been built, there would have been no settlement at Cataraqui.

It was competition for the fur trade that led to the construction of Fort Frontenac To block competition from the English, France needed to establish forts that would serve as trading posts in locations much closer at hand than English trading posts such as Albany to the south and Hudson Bay to the north.

Rene-Robert Cavelier de LaSalle chose the site where Fort Frontenac would be built. Count Frontenac, Governor of New France, built the first wooden fort. But it was LaSalle who in 1675 rebuilt the little wooden fort into a real fortress, which for the rest of his life he used as home base for his expeditions of discovery.

This presentation follows the fortunes of Fort Frontenac. How it was knocked down, rebuilt, abandoned, rebuilt, blown up, rebuilt again, destroyed by the British in the last days of New France, and finally became the site for the Loyalist settlement at Cataraqui following the American Revolution. Today, buried under streets and buildings, there is little of the historic old fort to be seen. This presentation digs up three hundred years of history.

"Whereas it is Unjust"

Black History is no longer ignored, as it regrettably was in past years. Today we acknowledge that some of our ancestors were slave owners. Slaves were property, and as such could be bought or sold. In New France, both Africans and Aboriginal people were held in slavery. At first, the majority of slaves in New France were indigenous people. They themselves practised slavery—it was part of their culture. When the British conquered New France, the Articles of Capitulation signed at Montreal on 8 September 1760 included a specific clause made clear that slavery was legal under British rule. This presentation records the history of slavery in Canada. It focuses upon the efforts of Upper Canada's first lieutenant governor John Graves Simcoe to bring an end to slavery in this province. It includes historical figures, such as Black Barney of The Queen's Rangers, Chloe Cooley, Senegal-born Richard Pierpont of Butler's Rangers, and Colonel John Butler himself. As an "afterward" the presentation takes note the efforts of the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society to assist fugitive slaves escaping from the United States up to the time of the American Civil War.

Jean Rae Baxter

Freedom Bound: The Black Loyalists' Story

This presentation opens with scenes of the capture of Black people in Africa and their transportation in slave ships to America. It deals with the ending of slavery in England in 1772 and the end of the slave trade in 1807, while its main focus is the Black Loyalists who gained their freedom by helping the British military during the American Revolution. After 1785, the focus shifts to the situation of enslaved people in the country which would soon become Canada. It describes the gradual abolition of slavery in Upper Canada, the situation of former slaves in Nova Scotia, their exodus to Sierra Leone, and finally the reopening in 2014 of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society Museum in Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 2014.

"Reading, Writing and 'Rithmetic"

The first Loyalists to arrive in what is now Canada were too concerned with survival to worry about schools for their children. Some parents had the skills to pass on the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. But not all. While some were highly educated, others were illiterate. What kind of education was available for the first generation of Loyalists' children?

This presentation covers the years 1784 to 1810. It moves from east to west: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Lower Canada and Upper Canada. What surprising difference there were!

This presentation is not preoccupied with the tortuous course of government legislation establishing and regulating schools. Rather, the emphasis is on people—the wealthy who wanted excellent schools for their offspring, the ordinary people who valued a basic education, and the schoolteachers themselves, an assortment of men — most were men — some learned and some barely literate. You will learn about curriculum as well, for in those days it was sometimes more than the "Three R's.")