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A. I. Silver.

University of Toronto Press, c1982.
257pp, paper, $30.00 (cloth), $12.50 (paper).
ISBN 0-8020-5557-5 (cloth), 0-8020-6641-8 (paper).

Reviewed by Keith Wilson.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

This is a timely and fascinating study of the changing French-Canadian concept of Confederation from the first discussions in the 1860s to the end of the nineteenth century. Drawing principally upon editorials and newspaper reports from differing partisan viewpoints, the author presents a clear and cogent thesis.

French-Canadians in the 1860s, he argues, thought of themselves as a nation with Lower Canada as their country and were largely unaware of such other French-speaking groups as the Acadians or M6tis. Provincial autonomy and the strength of Quebec were uppermost in their minds. The presence and increasing influence of the Anglo-Protestant minority in Quebec, however, led to a growing bitterness that was exacerbated by attacks on the rights of French-Catholic minorities elsewhere in Canada. Assuming the role of defender of minorities, French Canadians acquired a new awareness of the total French fact in Canada. By 1900, Professor Silver argues, Quebec had become convinced that Confederation was based on the duality of rights throughout Canada.

The theme of the book and its scholarly treatment necessarily categorizes it as of post-secondary level, but it would be a pity if school libraries ignored it. The inclusion of so many apt quotations makes the book a rich mine of information and lively illustrative material of tremendous value to the high school teacher of history or politics. It is an interesting and valuable book on a subject of current importance. Highly recommended.

Keith Wilson, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.
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