Family Compact

A term originally derived from alliances between the crowned heads of Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. After 1828 it was applied popularly to the governing elite in Upper Canada. The Constitutional Act* of 1791 (more accurately, the “Canada Act”) had created a governmental system dominated by the executive and legislative councils. The members of these were appointed by the crown from the wealthy and powerful segments of society who were usually Anglicans and Tories. Because the majority of the population had little political power, resentment against the Family Compact mounted until it erupted in the Rebellion of 1837.