What happened on July 1, 1867? Over 150 years after Canadian Confederation, it seems like a question with an obvious answer. Questions of Order argues that Confederation was not just a political deal struck by politicians in 1867, but was a process of reconfiguring political concepts and the basis of political association. Breaking new ground, Questions of Order argues that Confederation was an imperial event that generated new questions, concerns, and ideas about the future of political order in the British Empire and the world. It traces how for many public writers in English Canada, Confederation became an important basis for reimagining political order in the empire and redefining basic political concepts. To some, it marked a clear step in the larger project of imperial federation or even of the ultimate union of the English-speaking world. For others, however, it represented the certain fragmentation of the empire into sovereign "national" states.
Set in the context of a time of enormous social and cultural change, when so many long-held assumptions and firmly believed truths were faltering in the wave of new scientific and philosophical beliefs, the creation of Canada forced writers and public thinkers to grapple with the nature of political association and attempt to find new answers to critical questions of order.