By the Treaty of PARIS, 10 February 1763, the French colony became a British possession. After the French Revolution (1789) many Canadians came to see the Conquest as a providential rescue from revolutionary chaos - an idea that was long influential. Later generations, viewing the past through the prism of their own political and constitutional preoccupations, also tended to see the conquest positively - not without reason - as leading to religious toleration and REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. They were less welcoming of the ethnic dualism that was the inevitable result of the marriage of English government and immigration with an established French colony of settlement.
Some modern historians, such as Michel Brunet, have seen the Conquest as a disaster, drawing attention to the monopolization of the higher levels of government and business by English-speaking newcomers as evidence that the Conquest made French Canadians second-class subjects and, ultimately, an ethnic proletariat. Others, such as Fernand OUELLET, downplay harmful effects, pointing to fairly continuous development of economic foundations, of institutions and of culture, little affected by the event. For the native peoples, the end of Anglo-French hostility meant a fateful decline in their value as allies and warriors, making them increasingly irrelevant to white society.
The Conquest must always remain a subject of debate, interwoven with and inseparable as it is from other influences on Canadian development. Its influence is also evident in the AMERICAN REVOLUTION, which was possible only when the American colonies no longer needed British protection from French forces in North America.
Author DALE MIQUELON
Links to Other Sites
French Canada and the Early Decades of British Rule (1760 - 1791)
A digitized copy of a booklet that examines the issues and policies that defined Britian's administration of its North American colonies in the decades preceeding the implementation of the Quebec Act and the Constitutional Act. From the Canadian Historical Association and Library and Archives Canada.
Battle for a Continent
A brief summary of an episode of CBC's "Canada: A People's History" that examines the historic battles waged by England and France over who would control the North American colonies. Check the links on the right side of the page for additional details.
Europe in America
An outline for a lecture on the development of economic institutions in European colonial possessions. Also, click on the link to hear the actual lecture K.J. Rea, Ph.D., University of Toronto.