Louis-Joseph Papineau (October 7, 1786- September 23, 1871), born in Montreal, Quebec, was politician, lawyer, and the landlord of the seigneurie de la Petite-Nation.
Early Involvement in Politics
Admitted to the bar in 1810, he exercised his profession sporadically because of his involvement in politics. Elected Member of Parliament in the riding of Kent in 1808, he gave his support to the Parti canadien. He served as captain of the militia during the War of 1812.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
Papineau was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on January 21, 1815. The same year, he replaced Pierre-Stanislas Bédard as leader of the Parti canadien. Under his leadership, the party worked for the reform of Lower Canada's political institutions and strongly opposed the abuses of the appointed Legislative Council.
He married Julie Bruneau, in Quebec City on April 29, 1818. In 1820, he refused a position in the Legislative Council offered by governor Dalhousie.
In 1822, he was sent to London with John Neilson to present a petition of 60,000 signatures against the Union project. While in the United Kingdom, he was replaced by Joseph-Rémi Vallières as Speaker.
In 1826, he was chosen leader of the Parti patriote, a reformed and more radical Parti canadien. In 1831, he sponsored a law which granted full equivalent political rights to Jews, 27 years before anywhere else in the British Empire.
He took part of the committee that wrote the Ninety-Two Resolutions passed by the Legislative Assembly on February 21, 1834.
Louis-Joseph Papineau mural by George Juhacz and Jean Cartier found in the Papineau metro station of Montreal
Leader of the Patriotes
After the arrival of the Russell Resolutions in Lower Canada on March 6, 1837, he led the movement of protest and participated in numerous popular assemblies. He led the committee that organised the boycott of essentially all of the British imports to Lower Canada. On November 15, he created the Conseil des patriotes with Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan. He left Montreal for St-Denis on November 16, after governor Lord Gosford ordered his arrest and that of 25 other patriot leaders. He crossed the US border on November 25.
Arriving in the United States, he stayed at his friend judge Reuben Hyde Walworth's family house in Saratoga. He organised for his wife and his children to meet him there. For some time, he attempted to gain the support of American President Martin Van Buren. The United States declared themselves neutral in the conflict between Britain and its Canadian colonies.
On February 8, 1839, he left New York City for Paris where he hoped to get France involved. In May, he published the Histoire de l'insurrection du Canada (History of the insurrection in Canada) in the magazine Progrès. Despite meeting with influential politicians such as Lamartine and Lamennais, the France of Louis-Philippe also remained neutral.
He left France and returned to Montreal after being granted amnesty in 1845.
Return to Politics
In 1848, he was elected member of the new united Parliament of Canada in the riding of Saint-Maurice. In severe disagreement with the emerging French Canadian liberal party, he became an independent MP. A convinced republican after a long exile in the United States and France, he supported the call for Canada's annexation to the United States federal republic, something he judged to be a lesser of two evils after the failure of his reforms.
He participated in the creation of the Parti rouge. He was defeated in 1851, but elected in a by-election in 1852. He did not present himself again in the elections of 1854. He retired from public life until his death on September 23, 1871.