At Confederation, most French Canadians felt their homeland was Quebec; they supported the new arrangement because it separated Quebec from Ontario, creating an autonomous French-Canadian province loosely associated with the others. Unaware of other French-Canadian groups in British North America, Quebeckers were not concerned with minority rights, but only with the French character and autonomy of their own province. However, political and economic circumstances necessitated the granting of wide linguistic and educational rights to Quebec's Anglo-Protestant minority. Growing bitterness over the prominence of this minority in what was expected to be a French province was amplified by the discovery that French-Catholic minorities were losing their rights in other parts of Canada. Resentment at the fact that Quebec had to grant minority rights, while other provinces did not, intensified French-Quebec nationalism. At the same time, French Quebeckers felt sympathy for their co-religionists and co-nationalists in other provinces and tried to defend them against assimilating pressures.
Fighting for the rights of Acadians, Franco-Ontarians, or western M tis eventually led Quebeckers to a new concern for the French fact in other provinces. Professor Silver concludes that by 1900 Quebeckers had become thoroughly committed to French-Canadian rights not just in Quebec but throughout Canada, and had become convinced that the very existence of Confederation was based on such rights. Originally published in 1982, this new edition includes a new preface and conclusion that reflect upon Quebec's continuing struggle to define its place within Canada and the world.
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 520 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
'Those who read this study will learn a great deal from a well-written, copiously documented book.'
- Canadian Social Studies: The History and Social Science Teacher
'...[The French-Canadian Idea of Confederation] is based on considerable research into French-Canadian newspapers and periodicals, and the result is both important and fascinating ... A.I. Silver's book is indispensable for getting at the character and attitudes of French Canadians about the rest of Confederation ... [It] can truly be said to open up new possibilities for understanding French-Canadian history and politics.'
- Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft fur Kanada-Studien
'In the debate of the "now and future Canada," Silver's contribution to the perception of a crucial phase in the nation's development should be welcomed by scholars and reflective citizens alike.'
- The Canadian Historical Review
'[Silver's] thesis is clear; his research impressive; and his arguments convincing ... [His] work is an important contribution to the study of French-Canadian attitudes in the late nineteenth century.'
- Canadian Book Review Annual