Skip to Content

The Spirit of 1763: The Royal Proclamation in National and Global Perspective

Ken Coates

It is an auspicious moment for Canadians to revisit one of the founding documents in Canada’s legal and political history.  After a century of near neglect from politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers, the last forty-to-fifty years have seen this document brought to new life and vigor.  The renewal of interest in the Proclamation, however, was not solely a domestic event.  The Royal Proclamation re-emerged in First Nations and Canadian legal cultures at a time when Indigenous Rights became increasingly important around the globe.  Though not anchored in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 per se, countries around the world grappled with similar histories of promises and neglect.  As we look forward, beyond this 250th anniversary, it seems prudent to situate this document in the broader context, asking the question: “What does the Royal Proclamation mean for Canadians today?”