North-West Mounted Police

North-West Mounted Police
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.65

     challenging words:    accessible, provincial, rowdy, abide, liquor, rebellion, enlist, whiskey, refused, warfare, retreat, enforcement, newly, presence, theirs, sales
     content words:    Canadian West, First Nations, Bay Co, Civil War, Canadian Northwest, American West, Prime Minister John A., Royal Irish Constabulary, March West, North Saskatchewan River

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North-West Mounted Police
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     For years, the Canadian West or Northwest, as it was called, was home to wildlife, First Nations, and the trapper-traders of the Hudson's Bay Co. During the 1870's a new group of traders pushed into the area. These were American "free traders." They thought they did not have to abide by the rules of the Hudson's Bay Co.
2     Many of these men were veterans of the Civil War and did not really care about the native tribes or anything else. They often brought large amounts of whiskey with them to sell or trade with the natives. This was mixed with other things to increase its effect and their profits.
3     The traders also built their own forts. They acted like the Canadian Northwest was the same as the American West with no laws that pertained to them. As reports of the bad conditions went east, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald decided something had to be done quickly.
4     He decided that a mounted, paramilitary force was best in that situation. They would be trained to deal with plains warfare but also be taught to work with people. He meant for them to be in place when the land was settled. They would not only be peace keepers, but also support for the settlers. They were the ones that the people would come to if they had a problem or question.
5     To find the model for such a force, Macdonald looked to Ireland. The Royal Irish Constabulary was one of the first units of its kind. Mounties were recruited from the fall of 1873, through the spring of 1874. That summer 275 men, along with their horses and equipment, began the great March West. They left Dufferin, Manitoba, in July and marched 2,400 kilometers across the prairie in four months before finally arriving in Alberta.

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