The Controversial Character Of Louis Riel In Canadian History

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Louis Riel is one of the most controversial characters in Canadian history today, with historians having argued over his nature for well over a hundred years. Having fought for the preservation of the Métis’ religion, language, and land rights for a majority of his adult life, Riel was the leader of both the Red River Resistance as well as the North-West Uprising. Well-spoken, educated, and visionary, he brought many great changes to Canada. Although often viewed as a hero, Louis Riel was an eccentric who was too inexperienced and irrational to be able to lead a successful rebellion.

Born in the Red River Settlement, established in 1812, Louis Riel grew up to be the biggest name in the small colony. The Red River citizens were not on …show more content…

Consequently, the Canadian government could not assume control, which led to a few armed skirmishes over the next few months as well as the capture of a group of Ontarians by the Métis. Friction between the two groups worsened when January of the following year, an Orangeman named Thomas Scott was executed by Riel’s group. Whether he wanted to or not, Riel’s rebellion against Canada made amnesty for Riel and his peers impossible, forcing them to hide away in exile. Although he had accomplished his goal, for the Canadian government to recognize the right of the people of Red River in the Manitoba Act, the results were so unsatisfactory that the Métis had no choice but to leave …show more content…

In 1864, without completing his education, he heard about the death of his father and returned to Red River. He had always been sensitive, but his grief left his mind fragile and vulnerable. During his years in exile after the Red River Resistance, Riel had a vision. In 1874, he wrote: “…the same spirit who came to Moses, appeared to me in the same manner […] the voice said to me, ‘Rise Louis David Riel. You have a mission to perform’.” Riel became obsessed with the idea of being a prophet sent from God, a voice for the favoured people. This was the main factor for his stay in two mental institutions in Montréal and Beauport from 1876 to 1878. His diagnosis was ‘delusions of grandeur’, which is a symptom of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Many described him as a megalomaniac, a man obsessed with his own power. It’s difficult, then, to decide whether he took charge in the rebellions because of belief in the cause, or as a pursuit for

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