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Louis Riel. Hero, Traitor or Both? Louis Riel is a hero, and it still shows today!

thecarboneraser 1 / 4  
Mar 6, 2012   #1
This is my first time using essay forum,
I would greatly appreciate help with editing out any mistakes or parts where I am redundant (or not specific enough)
My essay currently lacks a well thought out conclusion and needs to be shortened a little (50 words over 1250 limit), I am fixing what I can but would appreciate help.

Fiction or nonfiction, every story has a villain and a hero. Who is to say that one person can't be both? The building of Canada as a nation is a story that fits the role perfectly. The 19th century was a critical period in the development of Canada that held many great heroes and villains. Louis Riel was one of the most controversial of them all. A man who was thought to bring the country together, as well as tear it apart, was hanged for high treason on November 16 1885. Louis Riel was without a doubt a hero. He stood up for the Mďitis people who were being treated unfairly, became an important figure in the development of Manitoba, and called attention to the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Louis Riel was considered a villain because he took a side that wasn't the governments, made a plan and became the leader of 2 rebellions that changed Canada permanently. Their first rebellion was the Red River Rebellion of 1869. The Mďitis people had been taken advantage of many times and decided that there was a need for rebellion. Settlers in the area had people building on the land they owned without care of permission. Then, without the settlers knowing, Rupert's Land was purchased. The Mďitis called on Riel (leader of the prairie Mďitis) for help. After numerous useless negotiations with the government, Riel called together the Rebellion at fort Garry where they took military weapons, ammunition and equipment. Riel then started a provincial government in the area to help negotiate fair treatment and alliance with Canada. Negotiations failed because Canada had thought of Louis Riel and the Mďitis as criminals, terrorists and murderers. Later, Riel executed a man who went against his government: Thomas Scott, which backed up the government's point. Thomas had threatened Riel when in jail and said he would kill him because of his beliefs once they got freed. When word spread east about Thomas's execution, Riel became a National criminal and was wanted for arrest. Riel fled to America for safety of prosecution. Because Riel fought for what he wanted in this fashion, he lost any immediate chance of negotiation.

Louis Riel's second major rebellion (The Northwest Rebellion Of 1885) further aggravated the government. During the time leading up to the rebellion, the Canadian Pacific Railway was being built. Because of the cost to build a railway, the Canadian Government broke their treaty and cut off their budget to the Indians. This action caused many Mďitis to die of starvation and disease. The Mďitis addressed Riel who introduced a plan that would hopefully put the situation to an end. During 1884, Louis Riel came back to Canada on the pleas of the Mďitis. After realizing that asking the Canadian government to "Start Fresh" would not work, he took up arms at Fort Carlton and waited for the Canadian people's attacks. Riel and the Mďitis fought of waves off Canadian militia but in the end were captured and defeated. Riel was arrested along with some of the Mďitis. Because of his violent approach to the situation he was portrayed a violent criminal by a large audience.

One point of view suggests that Riel was pushed to act the way he did. Friendly negotiations failed and discrimination and racism against the Mďitis forced him to rebel. In reality however, nobody is forced to do anything, Riel made a choice and, because of that, was held accountable for the damages done. During the 19th century, Europeans and natives lived in the same area and shared the same land; racial issues made arguments unavoidable. The Europeans had a tendency to put a title on land; they had "scrips" which were pieces of paper which state how much land a man owns. Mďitis people were confused by the system and, in result, were taken advantage of. They often had to give away large amounts of land for low prices because of the trickery performed by the Europeans. Mďitis children were also heavily influenced. They had been sent to distant residential schools where they learned white culture in a learning format that was foreign to them. At first all the deals put forward by the Europeans sounded fair, but they often didn't live up to their side of the deal. Gradually, the discomfort of the Mďitis built up and action needed to be taken. Numerous attempts to inform the government about the situations failed and no action was taken. Riel was in a tough situation so he got through to the Canadian government the best he could.

Although the rebellions made people believe that Riel was a villain, almost all of his violent and nonviolent acts have benefited Canada in one way or another. One thing that truly stands out about Louis Riel is his passion for keeping equal rights. During the red river rebellion, Riel came up with a list of rights for the Mďitis . Not only did he try to defend the Mďitis, he also tried to defend the whole settlement under the control of the Canadian government. The list of rights suggested "all people are to be treated equally, with equal rights to the services and aspects of society, including voting and elections, land purchases and claims, and cultural and language rights". Even after this list, Riel did not stop his attempt to better the conditions for Mďitis. During the North West Rebellion of 1885, Riel wrote up the bill of rights- this document further bettered the ways of the Mďitis. The bill ensured in detail, "the Mďitis are to have equal rights to land, a say in elections, access to their necessities, and the same standard living conditions as the whites". This made Riel a defender and supporter of the Mďitis' rights and cultures.

Louis Riel's contribution to modern day Canada didn't stop with some of his direct actions, he was also responsible for the formation of 21st century Manitoba. During the Red River Rebellion, Riel formed a provincial government and wrote the list of rights that kept Mďitis equal with society. This list was later used to construct the Manitoba act. This act proposed that the Red River colony would become part of Manitoba. This act also accomplished making English and French the official languages of Manitoba and added separated schooling: Protestant and Roman Catholic. Louis Riel was named 'Founding Father of Manitoba'.

Louis Riel also assisted in the formation of the Canadian Pacific Railway. During the 19th century, workers paid by the government of Canada worked on a project that was crucial to the formation of Canada. John A. Macdonald pictured a railway connecting Canada from east to west. Although it sounded nice, it was an expensive project and, in 1885, the C.P.R. was bankrupt. Trains can not go up or down hill, nor can they turn very sharply making it difficult to pass hills and mountains. In addition to that, a straight path would require going through the United States. Because of all the effort and money that would have to be involved, people decided it was not worth their while. Although Louis Riel wanted the C.P.R. to be finished, it was not direct effort that got the job done. It was Louis Riel's second rebellion that gave Sir John A. Macdonald a perfect opportunity. He suggested that to get troops out of the area quickly, a railway was needed. The people agreed, making Louis Riel one of the soul reasons of the finished railway.

In the end, Louis Riel is a hero, and it still shows today. Although many of his actions upset the people, they also helped build up modern day Canada by giving us Manitoba and helping reorganize the Mďitis to better suit everyone. The C.P.R. still runs today and is successful.

All comments appreciated,

This is my first time using essayforum, is my title/post fine or am I breaking any rules?

chalumeau /  
Mar 7, 2012   #2
Riel, Louis, and Thomas Flanagan.1976. The Diaries of Louis Riel. Edmonton: Hurtig,

Riel, Louis, and Desmond Morton. 1974. The Queen v Louis Riel. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Riel, Louis, and George Francis Gillman Stanley. 1985. The collected writings of Louis Riel. Edmonton, Alta., Canada: University of Alberta Press.

Riel, Louis. The Queen Vs. Louis Riel: Accused and Convicted of the Crime of High Treason. Report of Trial at Regina.-Appeal to the Court of Queen's Bench, Manitoba.-Appeal to the Privy Council, England.-Petition for Medical Examination of the Convict.-List of Petitions for Commutation of Sentence, Ottawa. Ottawa, 1886.

Flanagan, Thomas. Louis 'david' Riel: Prophet of the New World. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979.

Reid, Jennifer. 2008. Louis Riel and the creation of modern Canada: mythic discourse and the postcolonial state. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Neering, Rosemary. 1977. Louis Riel. Don Mills, Ont: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Here are some references to Louis Riel I found on Worldcat. Try and read some of them. Write your paper again after you read them.

Unless you are summarizing a biography here, it sounds like a case of 3rd-hand (open-source)plagiarism. I see no citations in the paper?

What was the essay assignment?
OP thecarboneraser 1 / 4  
Mar 7, 2012   #3
To define whether he was hero or villain. My point was that it was possible to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. I started off saying why people thought he was a villain, then described how his actions contributed to making a better canada.

sorry if I was confusing/unclear
chalumeau /  
Mar 8, 2012   #4
Which biography or sources did you read in order to write your paper?
I'm sure that your teacher or professor will ask you.
OP thecarboneraser 1 / 4  
Mar 8, 2012   #5
I have them all on paper, I'll try to type them out when I have time. I am required to write down all sources and support for my teacher.
chalumeau /  
Mar 8, 2012   #6
I read your essay the other day but didn't know where to start. I could help with grammar, but it wouldn't clarify the essay. My suggestion would be to start over. I hope you have more time or your teacher will allow you to request an extension.

The most important sentence you wrote:
"During the Red River Rebellion, Riel came up with a list of rights for the Métis."
I would focus your entire essay on this list and how it impacted the Métis. Political writings
have their own influence apart from the actual rebellions. They oftentimes determine who is
considered a hero or a villain.

If you want to focus on the rebellions, then you have to say what exactly he did. I would include some newspaper articles--reactions at the time.

While you are brainstorming, jot down some attributes of a hero.
Here's a list I made:
1) Brave, unafraid to die
2) Stood up for other people
3) Actions are honorable
4) Died for a cause

Many rebellion leaders are not considered heroes today. Sometimes they are thought of as brash, hot-blooded, thick-headed. How do you defend Riel against these criticisms?

1) Defend him like a defense attorney would.
2) Or pretend that he is your father or brother. Write a letter to him.
Now write your essay again.

It's a good summary of the man's life, but I think you can do better.
OP thecarboneraser 1 / 4  
Mar 9, 2012   #7
That is VERY helpful. My teacher gave an extension anyway.

Is there anyway to remove an essay from essayforum and is it free?

Thank you for continuing to check out my essay


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