Development of Elites in Acadian New Brunswick, 1861-1881

Development of Elites in Acadian New Brunswick, 1861-1881

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Development of Elites in Acadian New Brunswick, 1861-1881
    Book Description:

    Challenging accepted notions that elite dominance defined Acadian ideology, Sheila Andrew attributes the development of the Acadian elites not to the "Acadian renaissance" or an Acadian nationalist spirit but to emerging economic and political opportunities.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6632-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables and Maps
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)

    The elite in any group consists of those who are most successful in achieving the common aim of that group.¹ These aims could include gaining wealth, skill, or status. They frequently include gaining power to promote the interests of the group. This makes the study of elites an important topic. Power can corrupt even those who originally sought it for unselfish reasons. We need to know how people become members of elite groups. What is the basis of their power, and what limits that power? This is of more than academic interest in the 19905, when rapid advances in technology...

  7. 2 The Agricultural Elite
    (pp. 23-44)

    The development of all elites in nineteenth-century Acadian society depended on elite farmers’ responses to new marketing opportunities. They were part of an identifiable elite group, coming from areas with advantages in agriculture and from families owning more than 40 acres of land. However, elite farmers had not yet become exclusive through wealth or inheritance or socially powerful through links with other elites, and they did not constitute a united elite promoting agrarian ideals. On the contrary, they became less important in public life between 1861 and 1881. However, their rising production levels and response to market needs brought greater...

  8. 3 The Commercial Elite
    (pp. 45-62)

    The development of a commercial elite was closely related to that of the agricultural elite and an important factor in the growth of the educated, professional, and nationalist elites. English-speaking merchants, artisans, and contractors no doubt could have provided the necessary services of middlemen between producers and consumers - to a large extent, they probably did. However, the growth of an Acadian occupational class to fill this role was essential if Acadians were ever to approachprise de conscienceas an independent community.

    There are few studies of the development of a commercial elite from among the operaters of small...

  9. 4 The Education Elite
    (pp. 63-94)

    Education was particularly important in developing the more urbanized elite of the Acadian renaissance period. It provided the communication and organizational skills necessary for the institutional, social, and political activities that were part of a new role for this elite and sometimes for a successful merchant business. It provided the qualifications necessary to establish the professional and church-based elite. It facilitated the contacts within English- and French-speaking society that allowed the elite to succeed in all these roles and as interpreters between the two societies. It also provided a link between those who became members of these new elites and...

  10. 5 The Priests
    (pp. 95-118)

    If the united elite was to be found anywhere, we would expect to find it among the priests, politicians, and professionals. Several historians have suggested that common background, mutual self-interest, and overlapping spheres of influence led these elites to consensus in nineteenth- century Quebec, with the priests the most powerful members of this uneasy alliance. They argue that the power of the church increased when liberal views were discredited by the failure of the 1837 rebellion.¹ Then the Vatican entered the political sphere with theSyllabusof Errorsof 1864 condemningrougeliberalism, and Quebec politicians followed this with the...

  11. 6 The Professional Elite
    (pp. 119-139)

    The doctors, lawyers, senior civil servants, and lay teachers above school level discussed here as the professional francophone elite were potentially part of a clerical, professional, and political elite united by education, kinship, intermarriage, and shared standards of behaviour. If a combined elite existed, Quebec models suggest that it could have dominated institutional expressions of national identity. Professionals there shared classical-college education and exposure to clerical influence. They were often related to members of other professional elites and set up common social standards based on college and convent education. There was potential control through the power of law, the need...

  12. 7 The Politicians
    (pp. 140-169)

    Models for political elites of disadvantaged or minority groups often place them in an unfavourable light. By the Quebec model, we would expect to find an Acadian political elite drawn from the prosperous farming, merchant, and professional classes and careful to keep the support of the priests.¹ They would be able to form a united elite because they shared certain standards of education and social codes. In practice this would still require some compromises to reach consensus. Successful politicians would need to leave social control and education to the church so long as patronage and industrial development favoured their own...

  13. 8 Getting Together: The Moniteur Acadien, Other Associations,the Conventions, and the concept of an Acadian Nation
    (pp. 170-199)

    Control of the media and the use associations based on voluntary and professional relationships are recognized ways of developing a common elite way of life and developing elite control over the nonelite.¹ It has been particularly tempting to assume that the elites of Acadian New Brunswick communicated and exercised control through the media because theMoniteurwas the only local French-language newspaper available until i885.² Volunteer associations such as temperance, music, drama, and fund-raising groups have also been seen as forms of elite social control.³ Among Acadians these associations were often based on the religious parish, and some priests were...

  14. 9 Conclusion
    (pp. 200-204)

    The previous chapters have described four elite groups in Acadian New Brunswick. Each could be treated as a group because its members had obtained measurable success in approaching a common aim. The elite farmers were running successful farms; the elite businessmen were running creditworthy businesses; the educated elites were either obtaining an above-average education or using that education in a chosen vocation or profession.

    The Introduction poses five questions about the evolution of these groups. How did people become members of elite groups? What power did they exercise through membership in these groups? What was the basis of this power?...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 205-236)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 237-252)
  17. Index
    (pp. 253-262)