Quebec’s national identity can be traced back to the conquest of 1759, a clash of empires in which the British drove the French crown from North America. Britain’s policy towards its new subjects, the colonists of New France, oscillated between assimilation and accommodation. Immediately after the conquest, the Church of England was declared the established church, English law was imposed, English declared the official language and the traditional seigneurial system of land tenure abolished (McRoberts,1988). By 1774, fearful that the Canadiens would join the gathering rebellion in the south, the government relaxed these restrictions. They were rewarded by the support of the Catholic clergy against the secularizing and republican abominations of the American revolution. Quebec remained a distinct society within British North America and, later, Canada.
KeywordsLanguage Policy Native People National Identity North American Free Trade Area French Language
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