Patronage, in the mid- and late-nineteenth century, was central to Canadian politics. This period also witnessed a series of debates concerning the civil service and a range of reforms that attempted to eliminate patronage. This dissertation argues that, more than debates about administration and appointments, these were also struggles over how to construct the ideal civil servant and civil service. These were highly political issues that were beset by processes of inclusion and exclusion, especially with respect to gender, class, and race. In short, these were debates about the many facets
of liberal governmentality and state formation in early modern Canada.
This dissertation also analyzes letters to federal politicians asking for appointments. Among other things, these documents expressed a range of opinions on how the bureaucracy should be managed, staffed and constructed. Letters asking for patronage also demonstrated how aspiring public servants understood and expected the appointment process to work. These letters reflected what type of people should have access to the civil service, and what type of people the applicants thought they were. As such, they informed and
were themselves informed by broader political and administrative debates. These politics of Canadian patronage, I argue, were central to the everyday processes of state formation.