||Conflict in Quebec, 1775
This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 5 A Question of Loyalties
The Quebec Act of 1774 expanded the territory of the Province of Quebec as far as the Ohio Valley where the economy of the fur trade could continue to grow. But the Act enraged Americans - the extended borders sealed off the West to further American expansion. As well, the Act recognized the seigneurial system and French civil law, and established a Legislative Council appointed by the Governor that could make laws with his consent.
The Americans wanted nothing less than an elected government. From the early 1770s, American propaganda denouncing British tyranny and proclaiming people's rights and liberties was circulated in Quebec. American agents roamed the countryside appealing to colonists to join their cause.
The thirteen American colonies formed the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. In September 1775, they appointed George Washington commander of their army. They passed a resolution to invade the Province of Quebec to expel the British from North America. As soon as the news reached Quebec, clergy and seigneurs incited inhabitants to defend the colony against the rebels. But the population, both English and French, remained generally neutral - the English because they were still furious about the Quebec Act, and the French because they considered this an English war.