Why do we say "Paddle your own canoe.

Well-Known Expressions

Paddle your own canoe

Meaning:

To be independent and take care of your own affairs

Background:

Frederick Marryat (1792-1848) - a British novelist and seaman, wrote in Settlers in Canada (1844):

"I think it much better that... every man paddle his own canoe"

In the 19th Century 'Paddle Your Own Canoe' was also the title of a popular song, and appeared in Sarah Bolton's popular poem of 1854, published in Harper's Magazine

Voyage upon life's sea,
To yourself be true,
And, whatever your lot may be
Paddle your own canoe.

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