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Quebec nationalism

Quebec nationalism is the subject of many international studies together with that of Scotland, Catalonia and others. This article aims at presenting an historical overview of the evolution of Quebec nationalism from its origins until now.

Canadien liberal nationalism

(1800s - 1880s)

The emergence of a French Canadian (Canadien) nationalism coincides with the birth of many nation states during a period of history known as the first wave of decolonization, which began with the independence of the Thirteen British American colonies.

From 1783 to the late 1830s the world witnessed the creation of many new national states with the birth of the United States of America, the French Republic, Haiti, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Belgium, Greece and others. Often accomplished militarily, these national liberations occurred in the context of complex ideological and political struggles opposing European metropoles with their respective colonies, and monarchists with republicans. If these battles succeeded in creating independent states in some regions of the world, they failed in other places, such as Ireland, Scotland, Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Germany, and so on. French Canadian nationalism can be rightfully studied in this context.

There is no consensus on the exact time of the birth of a national consciousness in French Canada. Some historians defend the thesis that it existed before the 1800s, because the Canadiens saw themselves as a people culturally distinct from the French even in the time of New France. However, the use of the expression la nation canadienne (the Canadian nation) by French Canadians is a reality of the 1800s as far as we know from historical records. The idea of a nation canadienne was supported by the liberal or professional class in Lower Canada: lawyers, notaries, doctors, seigneurs, and architects of all origins.

Ultramontane nationalism

(1840s to 1950s)

Although it was still defended and promoted up until the beginning of the 20th century, the French Canadian liberal nationalism born out of American and French revolutions began to decline in the 1840s, gradually being replaced by both a more moderate liberal nationalism and the ultramontanism of the powerful Catholic clergy.

The rise of a Catholic nationalism, which was pervasive throughout Quebec society until fairly recently, marked a century of religious obscurantism. The censorship of essentially all of the Enlightenment, liberal, scientific and romantic ideas and literature of France, the United States and Great Britain severely affected what is seen today as the normal social and economic development of Quebec.

Contemporary Quebec nationalism

(1950s to the present)

The understanding of contemporary Quebec nationalism is made very difficult by the ongoing debates on the political status of the province. Because no political option gathers a decisive majority, there are still many social conflicts and contradictions in the way Quebecers see themselves.

See also

Nationalism - Quebec - History of Quebec - Politics of Quebec - Canada - Canadian nationalism - Politics of Canada - Native Americans

External links