Moving Beyond Two Solitudes: Constructing a Dynamic and Unifying Francophone/Anglophone Relationship, 1916-1940

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Title: Moving Beyond Two Solitudes: Constructing a Dynamic and Unifying Francophone/Anglophone Relationship, 1916-1940
Authors: Talbot, Robert
Date: 2014
Abstract: By the end of the Great War, Canadians had become more divided along cultural-linguistic lines than perhaps at any other point in their history. Issues surrounding French-language rights outside Quebec and Canada’s place in the British Empire had proved especially contentious leading up to and during the war. Twenty years later, however, the country was relatively united as it prepared to enter yet another global conflict. This study explores the important (albeit partial) rapprochement that occurred during the interwar period between English- and French-speaking Canadians, and in Quebec and Ontario in particular. Remarkably, this rapprochement was the result of both a ‘ground-up’ pressure from civil society, and cross-cultural accommodation occurring among political élites. Driven by a combination of idealism and self-interested pragmatism, Anglophone and Francophone intellectuals, academics, professionals, businessmen and other citizens who were deeply concerned about the country’s future led the call for a more tolerant, pluralistic and liberal Canadian society – one that would allow for greater acceptance of Canada’s French fact and for a higher degree of cross-cultural accommodation. Gradually, rapprochement began making its way into the public discourse – through professional and fraternal associations, popular culture, and through more positive contact with the ‘Other.’ As the rhetoric of cross-cultural understanding developed a wider audience, the political parties responded. The Liberal Party, especially, pressured by its own members from within civil society, became the political vehicle for rapprochement, and began to deal with the big issues of Francophone/Anglophone relations in ways that had been almost impossible a generation earlier.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30334
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-6786
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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