Founding Fathers

Founding Fathers: The Celebration of Champlain and Laval in the Streets of Quebec, 1878-1908

Ronald Rudin
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442675025
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  • Book Info
    Founding Fathers
    Book Description:

    >Based largely upon the archival documents left behind by the lay and ecclesiastical leaders who organized the celebrations of Champlain and Laval, Ronald Rudin's study describes the complicated process of staging these spectacles.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7502-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    This is my second book touching on how French-speaking Quebecers – a people who claim ‘Je me souviens’ as their national motto – have remembered their past. InMaking History in Twentieth-Century QuebecI was interested in the emergence of history as a profession, paying particular attention to how and why these professionals communicated various versions of the past to the larger population.¹ Clearly, however, most people derive at least as much of their understanding of the past from sources other than books written by historians. This point has been driven home in a fascinating study indicating that the views...

  5. chapter one The Discovery and Display of Mgr de Laval, 1877–1878
    (pp. 11-52)

    The era of the commemorative mega-event in Quebec City began late on the afternoon of 19 September 1877. Towards 4 o’clock, Charles Roberge and Benjamin Simard, two young workmen from the St-Roch district, were busy cleaning out the basement of Quebec City’s Basilica to make room for repairing some rotting beams, when they came across a lead coffin containing the remains of Mgr François de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec. Laval had died in 1708, leaving behind instructions that he should be buried in the seminary he had founded. Unfortunately, the chapel of the seminary where his remains were...

  6. chapter two A Monument for Champlain, 1879–1898
    (pp. 53-102)

    In November 1866, more than a decade before Mgr de Laval’s remains were discovered,Le Journal de Québectrumpeted that the grave of the other founding father, Samuel de Champlain, had been located: ‘We are happy to be able to announce today some news which will interest people not only in Canada and North America, but as far away as Europe. Messieurs les abbés Laverdière et Casgrain, after long and serious research, are close to discovering the tomb of Champlain, something that our most eminent archaeologists have long wanted to find.’¹ Just as Laval’s remains had long been missing, so...

  7. chapter three Immortalizing Laval, 1878–1908
    (pp. 103-162)

    In the decades following the reburial of Mgr de Laval, clerical leaders, with considerable help from lay allies, mounted two further public celebrations of the bishop. Both were intended to shore up the power of Catholicism in Quebec society. Catholic institutions continued to control education and social services and had even expanded their influence by creating new institutions such as thecaisses populaires; that being said, the days of the 1870s, when clerics might have confidently tried to influence public affairs, had passed. This change was perhaps best symbolized by the rise to power of Wilfrid Laurier, who was just...

  8. chapter four Champlain’s Tercentenary?
    (pp. 163-222)

    Only four weeks after the close of the Laval fête, the streets of Quebec City came alive once again, this time for the celebration of the tercentenary of Champlain’s founding of the town.¹ By any standard the tercentenary extravaganza held in the last two weeks of July was the largest commemorative event ever staged in Canada. It was more expensive and had a longer run than all past celebrations of the founding fathers combined. Moreover, the tercentenary drew more people to Quebec City than any of the earlier fêtes. Over its two weeks a city of 70,000 became home to...

  9. Epilogue: Champlain and Laval beyond the Summer of 1908
    (pp. 223-234)

    Just as there was debate as to when the tercentenary really began, so too was there some question as to when it ended. For the overwhelming majority of the roughly 200,000 people, counting both residents and tourists, who had been crammed into Quebec City in late July, this was a rather straightforward question: the final events on the program took place on the last day of the month. By then the Prince of Wales had already headed home, along with the navies, soldiers, dignitaries, and visitors from four countries. The return to ‘normal’ life was signalled by one of the...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 235-276)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 277-284)
  12. Index
    (pp. 285-290)