Founding Fathers: The Celebration of Champlain and Laval in the Streets of Quebec, 1878-1908

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University of Toronto Press, 2003 - History - 290 pages
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The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an unprecedented wave of public celebration of the past. Throughout the western world, heroes and great events from earlier times were celebrated through such devices as staging lavish parades, constructing intricately designed monuments, and mounting theatrical re-enactments of pivotal moments in history. In Quebec, two individuals occupied centre stage. Between 1878 and 1908, Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec City (and often referred to as the lay father of French-Canadian civilization), and Mgr François de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec (and often seen as French Canada's religious father), were feted in four commemorative mega-events staged in the streets of Quebec City.

Based largely upon the archival documents left behind by the lay and ecclesiastical leaders who organized the celebrations of Champlain and Laval, Ronald Rudin's study describes the complicated process of staging these spectacles. The vast array of leaders, lay and clerical, French and English-speaking, rarely saw eye to eye about either the form or the goal of any one commemorative celebration. Accordingly, the tens, if not hundreds of thousands who came out to view these celebrations saw events with numerous messages. An examination of the four spectacles, which took place over a period of thirty years, provides an opportunity to view both changes in the nature of commemorative celebrations across the western world and tensions within Canadian society.

 

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Contents

The Discovery and Display of Mgr de Laval 18771878
xi
A Monument for Champlain 18791898
41
Immortalizing Laval 18781908
91
Champlains Tercentenary?
151
Champlain and Laval beyond the Summer of 1908
211
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Page iv - ... represent an entire society or ' people ' should envisage its existence essentially in terms of that of an independent or at least an autonomous state. State, nation and society converged. For the same reason, the state, seen from above in the perspective of its formal rulers or dominant groups, raised unprecedented problems of how to maintain or even establish the obedience, loyalty and cooperation of its subjects or members, or its own legitimacy in their eyes.

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About the author (2003)

Ronald Rudin is a professor of History at Concordia University and is the author of Making History in Twentieth Century Quebec (UTP 1997).

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