Dream of Nation

Dream of Nation

Susan Mann
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Dream of Nation
    Book Description:

    Essential reading for an understanding of contemporary Quebec, The Dream of Nation traces the changing nature of various "dreams of nation," from the imperial dream of New France to the separatist dream of the 1980 referendum. Susan Mann demonstrates that these dreams, fashioned by elites in response to the recurring question of how to be French in North America, proposed an ever-elusive unanimity. She discusses how social, economic, and political pressures, as well as changing populations, invariably thwarted one dream and provided the makings of another. A work of pioneering scholarship and remarkable synthesis, The Dream of Nation weaves together two of the dominant ideologies of the twentieth century: nationalism and feminism. A new preface contextualizes the 1982 edition and outlines the different contours of Quebec's latest thoughts on sovereignty.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7031-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to the Carleton Library Series Edition
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Susan Mann
  4. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Susan Mann Trofimenkoff
  5. 1 The Dream of Empire
    (pp. 1-15)

    In the beginning was the river, frozen six months of the year. Both link and barrier, the river drew Indian nations to trade among themselves at choice locations—Tadoussac, Quebec, Montreallong before Europeans slipped along its shores in the sixteenth century. It marked the frontiers of various Indian nations. Those to the north, Montagnais, Huron, and Algonkin, attempted to keep it as the limit of European contact. The Europeans themselves, awed by the river, were nonetheless dismayed: the route to Asia was once again blocked. Yet perhaps something could be made of the obstacle. The immense gulf that opened and...

  6. 2 Conquest
    (pp. 16-32)

    By the 1760s conquest was added to the legacy of New France and the question of being French in North America took on another dimension. Just what that dimension was has been the subject of much historical debate. Some of that debate has illuminated aspects of the society of New France; more of it has revealed the contemporary political stances of the historians themselves. By turning New France’s military loss at the hands of the British into a psychological trauma, historians have in fact played roles in the drama almost as significant as those of the eighteenth century protagonists. Certainly...

  7. 3 An Other’s Empire
    (pp. 33-47)

    For thirty years after the Conquest Britain attempted to make Quebec an English colony. It never quite worked. The English dream of empire vacillated more than the French one—three different policies in as many decades—but the result was no different: the colony never did conform to imperial expectations. Governors and merchants in Quebec, colonial secretaries and parliaments in London all tried to fit the new colony not only into their own image, but also into an imperial puzzle of incredible dimensions. That confusion was often the result is hardly surprising. For this was a period of tremendous upheaval...

  8. 4 The Birth of Nationalism
    (pp. 48-66)

    Early in the nineteenth century French Canadians gave birth to a Quebec version of one of the most powerful ideas of the western world. In doing so they began a dream of their own, different from that of the French regime or that of the early years of British presence in Quebec. No longer an imported dream of imperial dimensions, this nationalist dream was grounded in the social, economic, and political realities of Lower Canada. And yet it had its connections abroad. “We the people” had just created a new nation to the south; across the Atlantic, liberty, equality, and...

  9. 5 For Whom the Bell Tolls
    (pp. 67-80)

    Within the span of a single decade Quebec experienced the liberalism and the imperialism of its tie to Britain and the political hopelessness of a nationalist cause. From the Canada Committee’s supporting of many of the colonists’ grievances in 1828 to the Durham Report of 1839 advocating the union of Upper and Lower Canada, the political groupings in Quebec played out the penultimate act of a lengthy drama, starring a popularly elected assembly and a group of privileged office holders. The liberalism of the times and the similarity of the Lower Canadian play to that being staged in Upper Canada,...

  10. 6 Alliance for Survival
    (pp. 81-99)

    With the Durham Report hanging the threat of assimilation over their heads, French Canadians in 1840 had every reason to be gloomy. Nor was there anything in their immediate surroundings to give them cause for cheer. The defeat of the Rebellion left in its wake exile for political leaders (Papineau among them), destruction of farmlands and property in the Richelieu region where most of the battles had been fought, disappointment and despair amongpatriotesupporters, and apathy among the more sceptical. A special Crown-appointed council carried out the governor’s orders and approved the Act of Union in November 1840 which...

  11. 7 The Confederation Risk
    (pp. 100-114)

    Confederation was the sixth and, to the present, most durable attempt at having French and English live together in the same territory. It was the only one in which French Canadians had much of a say. None of the previous attempts—the Conquest with its military regime in 1760, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Quebec Act in 1774, the Constitution of 1791, or the Union of 1841—had requested even a by-your-leave of French Canadians. Each more-over had offered assimilation or separation: French and English must live together or live apart. Neither formula had worked. Now in the 1860s...

  12. 8 The Clerical Offensive
    (pp. 115-131)

    In the last third of the nineteenth century the clergy was as much a means of national unity as the railroad. The clergy in fact had better networks across Quebec than did the railway, for all its frenetic promoters. Some clerics even attempted to harness the iron horse to their cause, urging railways as colonization routes when politicians were desperately seeking commercial traffic and votes. The attempt required political pressure and certain members of the clergy became very adept at using their privileged and increasingly numerous positions in society to exercise that pressure. They also developed a vast ideological justification...

  13. 9 Nobody Meant to Stay
    (pp. 132-149)

    One of the most telling responses to clerical definitions of place and function was for French Canadians to pack up and move elsewhere. Sometimes the moves were temporary, seasonal, or sexual adjustments to the parsimony of the land. More often they were permanent, flinging French Canadians into all the habitable areas of Quebec, into the Canadian and American west, into New England, and into the cities. Even in the new locations, the people did not stay put. They followed seasonal offers of employment in timber camp or factory; they shifted from town to town and within the towns from tenement...

  14. 10 The End of Empire
    (pp. 150-166)

    The last fifteen years of the nineteenth century shattered a number of political dreams. The Conservative party’s dream of political longevity, based on its dominance of both federal and provincial politics in Quebec, came to naught among internecine quarrels in Quebec and Métis squabbles in the west. The ultramontane pre- tension to religious supremacy in civil matters collapsed in the face of political and social hostility. Confederation itself appeared doomed as neither the expected economic development nor the new nationality took form. The federal government’s carefully laid plans for central control disintegrated under provincial assault. Even the old French dream...

  15. 11 The Twentieth Century Belongs to Quebec
    (pp. 167-183)

    Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Liberal prime minister, greeted the new century in the name of Canada, expecting it to bring to the nation on the northern half of the continent the population, prosperity, and prestige that the United States had experienced in the nineteenth century. Simon-Napoléon Parent, the Liberal premier of Quebec, welcomed the new century for the provincial economic development it promised, expecting investment and education to float the province and its people to prosperity and thus stem the tide of emigration. Laurier hoped to consolidate Confederation and to heal the estrangement between French and English. Yet almost everything...

  16. 12 Feminism Nationalism, and the Clerical Defensive
    (pp. 184-200)

    In the early 1900s, the social repercussions of industrialization dawned upon three distinct groups among Quebec’s elite: feminists, nationalists, and clerics. Similar conditions in the 1880s had raised scarcely a murmur; now they produced a veritable chorus of concern. The difference appears to have been one of quantity rather than quality. The sheer number of industrial workers, the physical expansion of cities and towns, the commercial boom of metropolitan Montreal could no longer be ignored. Quebec was obviously shedding its nineteenth century agricultural skin and the process seems to have been more difficult for certain elite groups who had been...

  17. 13 The Prussians Are Next Door
    (pp. 201-217)

    Nationalists in Quebec have never forgotten the First World War and Liberal politicians have been a close second in reminding voters of its political ravages. For many nationalists the war years turned French Canada into Quebec. For many Liberals the blunders of federal Conservatives during the same years provided electoral ammunition for generations to come. To some French Canadians, the war revealed the basic incompatibility of Canada’s two people: alien cultures finally exposed, in total disagreement over the de- mands of imperialism, the force of nationalism, and the logic of feminism. For other French Canadians, the crises of the war...

  18. 14 Abbé Groulx Sounds the Alarm
    (pp. 218-232)

    In the 1920s a new generation of Quebec nationalists examined the place of French Canada in an urban, industrial society and in Confederation. They were not at all sure they liked what they saw. As intellectuals, they were largely removed from the material concerns that continued to prompt their fellow French Canadians to adapt rural roots to urban settings. And as nationalists, thanks to the repeated blows of the First World War, they were much less optimistic than the prewar nationalists about the future of Canada or even the economic promise of the new industrial order. The voices of the...

  19. 15 The Search for Equilibrium
    (pp. 233-248)

    In many ways Groulx’s warnings and even his remedies rang true in the 1930s. Industrial overproduction pulled Quebec, along with the rest of the western world, up short after the frenzied years of economic speculation and prosperity of the late 1920s. The weight of urban manufacturing tipped the scale not just away from Groulx’s aesthetic notion of a balanced economy but also from the liberal economists’ dream of a growing distribution of wealth by means of increased industrial expansion. It all ground to a halt, leaving a million miseries in its wake. While urban worker and farm labourer bore the...

  20. 16 Ottawa’s War
    (pp. 249-265)

    One week after the British declared war on September 3, 1939, the Canadian government followed suit. Some French Canadian members of parliament muttered their unhappiness, but the one outspoken voice of opposition was not that of a French Canadian at all. Before parliament even met, the federal government refurbished the old War Measures Act from the First World War and prepared to don the mantle of organizer of the nation. Both the wartime circumstances and the government’s assumption of control worked wonders for the Canadian and Quebec economy. But for any sense of nation they did the opposite. Not only...

  21. 17 Rally Round the Flag
    (pp. 266-281)

    In 1948 the government of Quebec adopted the fleur-de-lis flag as the province’s distinctive banner. At the very time when Quebec was partaking of North America’s postwar economic development, it unfurled its own flag. While everything in the economy emphasized North American integration, the flag emphasized Quebec’s difference. Old time nationalists were ecstatic. They had been demanding just such a symbol for years. Newcomers to the nationalist fervour of the war years were just as delighted. They had all applauded the motion of an independent member of the assembly who had first raised the subject in 1946. And they had...

  22. 18 Ici Radio-Canada
    (pp. 282-297)

    Just as in the rest of Canada, television spread rapidly across Quebec in the 1950s. In 1952 one household in ten tuned in to the first Canadian programs; three years later almost half of them did so and by 1960 eighty-nine percent of the homes in Quebec boasted a television receiver. Much more rapid than the extension of telephones and radios, creeping across the Canadian and Quebec landscape at a snail’s pace since their inception in the 1880s and the 1920s, the rate of television acquisition reflected the greater prosperity of the 1950s and, in the case of Quebec, the...

  23. 19 Noisy Evolution
    (pp. 298-316)

    The Quiet Revolution fooled a lot of people. For six years the Liberal party of Quebec convinced itself and most onlookers that it had created something new and done so peacefully. By using the provincial government in a daring and innovative way, the Liberals had succeeded in slaying the ghost of Duplessis. Out of the ashes of hisgrande noirceur(great gloom) had arisen a thoroughly modern Quebec, glowing with enthusiasm and purpose and, except for language, looking and behaving very much like any other political entity in North America. In the hands of bureaucrats in pinstripe suits, planning had...

  24. 20 Feminism Federalism, and the Independence of Quebec
    (pp. 317-332)

    Federalism, and the Independence of Quebec Of all the turbulence that the Quiet Revolution generated, only three strains survived the fifteen year period 1966 to 1981 to become, perhaps, permanent features on the Quebec landscape. Feminism, federalism, and separatism, present as merely three elements of an immense questioning of every aspect of Quebec society, eventually distilled and diffused much of the turmoil of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some of the questions were noisier than others, some were punctuated with bombs, some were dreams of an egalitarian society, and others were nightmares of kidnapping and murder. The differing views...

    (pp. 333-334)
  26. INDEX
    (pp. 335-344)