At the same time, however, Canadians were almost universally opposed to slavery, and Canada had long been the terminus of the Underground Railroad. Close economic and cultural links across the long border also encouraged Canadian sympathy towards the North.
The new government stipulated the relinquishment of ex-Colonial States' Rights to individually settle in pre-Indiana (see Northwest Territory), with a promised treasure of the Louisiana Purchase (cf. Southwest Territory) by the Federal government. Manifest Destiny for the cause of Continentalism was the rallying cry of the Union, which wanted to amass more land thought to be compensation for the people who fought the French and Indian War (and still expected by Britain to pay wartime expenses), having enticed Easterners to settle the quasi-British Oregon Country (which was taken to be New Albion and thus, belonging to the Crown, without license for settlement by the ex-Colonists). This all was after the Union rounded off affairs in Louisiana by acquiring Florida Territory, formerly a British Colonial possession and therefore thought to be "retaken" by the new central government, although without apparent benefit to any individual State, while these newfound American territories were the reserve of the Federal government alone. American expansion insofar as the Alaska purchase (undertaken by the newly freed hands of Washington, DC), was what put the nail in the coffin of BNA inaction, fearing that the USA did have the willpower to do to them what was done to the CSA. On the other hand, Texan and Hawaiian annexations in the context of this fear, had less of a direct impact on Canada, even though it did give cause for glaring fear, since they were similar to the suppression and annexation of the CSA as a formerly independent nation, except were like Canada, being peripheral nations without direct investment in the American system.
All of this contributed to what is known as "Canadian nationalism" and such anti-American perception that the USA has been hypocritical, for its actions in the Revolution, vis a vis subsequent periods, when it "denied the rights" of other independent nations through warfare, as the USA did consider itself an independent nation in 1776 (the supposed inspiration behind Confederate independence), when its own aspirations were fought down by the British Parliament. In truth, many of the early Founding Fathers of the United States were not complete radicals and wished to remain within the framework of the Empire, as Canada was later to do--such people included George Washington (another inspiration for the CSA). In effect, the story is quite similar to Anglocentric perceptions of the French, after the Hundred Years' War, when the French called Joan of Arc their liberator from English domination, but thenceforth became the principle expansionist country in Europe, through the House of Bourbon.
Furthermore, the type of British government which was establishmentary in the South before the American Revolution (e.g. Colony and Dominion of Virginia), but rejected in what would later become the Union (e.g. Dominion of New England) of the Civil War era, had been loosely that which was adopted in Canada (see Dominion). After the War, the USA and British Empire spent decades of cooling off their causes of conflict and it was only after the South Seas arrangement of Australia and New Zealand (where pre-Revolutionary convicts meant for Georgia were planted), as well as South Africa (a White minority establishment, albeit without institutional slavery) were brought in line with the Canadian model; only after the Spanish-American War brought criss-cross political affinities into alignment. Most American colonists and convicts left Britain through serious grievances, which affected not only the way they dealt with London, but also how they would treat a new government, even established by themselves--with only London as their model by experience to draw upon. It was through this, the UK's later exemplary concessions of colonial autonomy to the Old Commonwealth, proving something beneficial or impressive to American prejudices about imperial governent and the US's defeat of Spain, Britain's oldest colonial foe (whereupon the USA experimented with a Commonwealth-style Governor-General--see Commonwealth#Australia), that the Special Relationship (US-UK) gradually came into effect, pointedly against Germany and her allies (including the British Royal Family, which culminated in renaming the dynasty to the House of Windsor and the Edward VIII abdication crisis), as the "big three" of competing industrial nations well in the 20th century.
The fall of the CSA, ironically and eventually led to the North Atlantic triangle, which preserves for Canada many of the aspirations sought by the CSA, although obviously not within the Southern territory that was fought over to defend/promote these principles of government. The other differences between the American Confederate and Canadian Confederate systems, is that in the former there was slavery and in the latter, there is the monarchy--each of these situations were untenable within the other's polity, but there were/are otherwise, no serious differences, especially in the present era of an Anglosphere and the UK-USA Security Agreement that bridges sovereignty on account of religious, political and cultural similarities. These were also, aspirations sought by the Antebellum South, building up to the Civil War era when massive immigration in the North, had begun threatening to end, what have been deemed "Anglo-Celtic" ways treasured by so-called "old stock" Americans--a majority still, in the Southern States, known in other areas and especially to Irish Catholics, as White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
Because of Canada's neutrality and some sympathy for the Southern cause, Canada became home to a number of Confederate operations during the war. In December 1863, the Confederates captured the American ship Chesapeake and took it to Halifax harbour. The Northern forces then launched an operation to retake the ship, in Canadian waters, and captured two Nova Scotians aboard it.
The most controversial incident was the St. Albans raid. Montreal had become home to a group of Confederates attempting to launch covert and intelligence operations from Canada against the North. In October 1864, they attacked St. Albans, Vermont and robbed banks. They fled and were pursued by Union forces over the Canadian border, creating a diplomatic incident. The Canadians then arrested the Confederate raiders, but the charges against them were dismissed.
The majority of Canadians who served in the war fought with the Northern army; it is unclear how many served with the Confederacy, but the number was most likely small. One notable Canadian volunteer who served the Confederate army was George Ellsworth, who, as telegrapher for Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan during Morgan's Raid, deliberately spread considerable misinformation about Morgan's whereabouts over the telegraph wires, imitating the unique styles of Federal telegraphers.
On the Northern side, Edward P. Doherty was an American Civil War officer who formed and led the detachment of soldiers that captured and killed John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of United States President Abraham Lincoln, in a Virginia barn on April 26, 1865, twelve days after Lincoln was fatally shot.
At least twenty-nine Canadian-born men were awarded the Medal of Honor.
In this regard, the conflict also had an important effect on discussions concerning the nature of the emerging federation. Many Fathers of Confederation concluded that the secessionist war was caused by too much power being given to the states, and thus resolved to create a more centralized federation. It was also believed that an excess of democracy, commonly referred to as mob rule, was a contributing factor and the Canadian system was thus deliberately made less democratic with institutions such as the appointed Senate and powers of the British appointed Governor-General, who until the 1931 Statute of Westminster was an official of the United Kingdom government. It is little surprise, therefore, that one of the guiding principles of the legislation which created Canada - the British North America Act - should have been peace, order, and good government. This remains an important element of Canadian collective self-identity.