Ruling by Schooling Quebec: Conquest to Liberal by Bruce Curtis

By Bruce Curtis

Ruling through education Quebec offers a wealthy and precise account of colonial politics from 1760 to 1841 through following repeated makes an attempt to varsity the folks. this primary e-book because the Fifties to enquire an surprisingly complicated interval in Quebec’s academic background extends the subtle approach utilized in writer Bruce Curtis’s double-award-winning Politics of Population.

Drawing on a mass of archival fabric, the research indicates that even though makes an attempt to control Quebec via instructing its inhabitants ate up large quantities of public funds, that they had little impression on rural lack of know-how: whereas near-universal literacy reigned in New England by means of the 1820s, at most sensible one in 3 French-speaking peasant males in Quebec may well signal his identify within the insurrectionary decade of the 1830s. Curtis files academic stipulations at the flooring, but in addition indicates how imperial makes an attempt to manipulate a tumultuous colony propelled the early improvement of Canadian social technological know-how. He presents a revisionist account of the pioneering investigations of Lord Gosford and Lord Durham.

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For the rest, Hubert claimed that descriptions of the illiteracy of people in the countryside were being grossly exaggerated to discredit the clergy; in fact, there were between twenty-four and thirty literates in each parish, more women than men. There were no existing defects in the colleges in Quebec and Montreal, and English students were admitted freely and treated fairly. 39 Despite Bishop Hubert’s evident opposition, the Executive Council Committee formulated and published a plan for a system of public education.

It was seen as an inert body, but one susceptible to leadership by local ‘agitators,’ some of them, perhaps, the curés. A 1788 report describing the general condition of the colony stressed peasant illiteracy and demoralization. ’ The habitants remained attached to the French government, as they had shown in the war, but ‘nothing will have a greater tendency to anglify them than illuminating their understandings, when they will discern the advantages resulting from the mildness of a British government.

While the inquiry failed in its broad objectives, nonetheless it embodied and extended a way of thinking through problems of political government, which it proposed to solve by reconfiguring the relations between population and territory. The book’s last chapter examines the primitive sociology of ‘national character’ that underlay attempts to reconstruct colonial government in the wake of the Rebellions. Schooling was seen explicitly as a ‘mighty engine’ for the production of ‘character,’ while imperial and colonial politicians who championed liberal representative government invoked educational criteria to justify an anglicizing social policy known to be against the expressed interests of the majority.

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