AHS  Vol.2 No.2 , June 2013
Borderland Theory as a Conceptual Framework for Comparative Local US and Canadian History
Author(s) Claire Parham*
My book From Great Wilderness to Seaway Towns: A Comparative History of Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York, 1784-2001 compared the two towns at different historical moments from 1784 to 2001 by utilizing Oscar Martinez’s borderland theory and argued that the shared experiences of Cornwall and Massena’s residents based on their borderland locations lead them to follow comparable patterns of social and economic development. As former American colonists, both area residents wanted to develop towns identical to their former communities. The founders of Cornwall and Massena and their descendants, therefore, challenged national values and beliefs and developed a distinctive society and culture of their own. In contrast to Seymour Lipset who argued that the organizing principles made the two countries different, my research suggests that Louis Hartz was closer to the mark when he stated “the differences between the two countries are less significant than the traits common to both.” To determine the how the lives of Massena and Cornwall residents’ lives were affected by their border locations, I highlighted key events and experiences that caused these men and women to develop common values and beliefs and adhered to the methodology of local historians.
Cite this paper
Parham, C. (2013). Borderland Theory as a Conceptual Framework for Comparative Local US and Canadian History. Advances in Historical Studies, 2, 94-104. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2013.22013.
[1]   Carr, C. C. (1952). Alcoa: An american enterprise. New York: Rinehart and Company.

[2]   Census of Canada (1871). Table 4. 274.

[3]   Census of Canada (1901). Table 17. 459.

[4]   Census of Canada (1941). Table 10. 113.

[5]   The Cornwall Canal (1887). The Cornwall standard-freeholder. 1.

[6]   Chevrier, L. (1954). Speech to Cornwall board of trade.

[7]   Chronological History of the Past Half Century (1934). The Cornwall Standard-freeholder. 1-10.

[8]   Editorial (1834). Cornwall observer. 1.

[9]   Ensign Francis McCarty Deposition, 12 January 1787.

[10]   Gates, C. (Ed.) (1894). Our county and its people: A memorial of St. Lawrence County, New York. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason and Company.

[11]   Guillet, E. (1933). Pioneer days in upper Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

[12]   Good, M. T. (1987). Chevrier: Politician, statesmen, diplomat, and entrepreneur of the St. Lawrence seaway. Stanke.

[13]   Harkness, J. G. (1946). Stormont, dundas and glengarry: A history 1784-1945. Oshawa: Mundy-Goodfellow Printing Company, Limited.

[14]   Hartz, L. (1964). The founding of new societies. Harcourt: Brace and World Inc.

[15]   Horovitz to Seek Reelection (1956). Cornwall standard-freeholder. 2.

[16]   Horowitz, I. (1973). The hemispheric connection: A critique and corrective to the entrepreneurial thesis of development with special emphasis on the Canadian case. Queen’s Quarterly, 80.

[17]   Hundreds of Chinese: Yellow Tide Still Streams. (1901). Massena Observer, 6.

[18]   Leuillot, P. (1977). A manifesto: The defense and illustration of local history. In R. Forster and O. Ranum (Eds.), Rural society in France (pp. 14-26). John Hopkins University Press.

[19]   Lipset, S. (1990). Continental divide: The values and institutions of the United States and Canada. New York: Routledge, Chapman, and Hall.

[20]   Martinez, O. (1994). Border people: Life and society in the US-Mexico borderland. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

[21]   Massena Alcoan 50th Anniversary Issue, June 1952.

[22]   Massena Manuscript Census, 1905-1925.

[23]   McInnis, E. (1982). Canada: A political and social history. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston of Canada, Limited.

[24]   Naylor, R. T. (1975). The history of Canadian business, 1867-1914, volume two, industrial development. Toronto: James Lorimer and Company Publishers.

[25]   Newton, R. A. (1945). Correspondence to Senator George Aiken.

[26]   New York State Census, 1845, 1855 and 1875.

[27]   Parham, C. P. (2004). From great wilderness to seaway towns: A comparative history of Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York, 1784-2001. Albany: SUNY Press.

[28]   Parham, C. P. (2009). The St. Lawrence seaway and power project: An oral history of the greatest construction show on earth. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

[29]   Park, J. H. (1990). Internal Alcoa document from April 4, 1990. Workforce History.

[30]   Podgurski, N., Prince, L., & Peers, R. (Eds.) (1894). The Massena story.

[31]   Prince, L. (1961). Circuit riders brought Methodism to Massena; meetings held in homes. Massena Observer, 1.

[32]   Pringle, J. F. (1980). Lunenburgh or the old eastern district. Belleville: Mika Publishing.

[33]   Report of Ten Inhabitants of Township #2 on Meeting of 12 January 1787.

[34]   Romeo, A. (1951). Our town. Massena Observer, 2.

[35]   Senior, E. K. (1983). From royal township to industrial city: Cornwall 1784-1984. Belleville: Mika Publishing.

[36]   The Cornwall Canal (1887). Cornwall Observer, 1.

[37]   Town Council Minutes (1878) 412-413.

[38]   Upper Canada Returns of Population and Assessment, Volume 1, 574.