Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States

By Arnold M. Rose | Go to book overview

maintaining any form of religion. In the words of the United States Supreme Court: "We have staked the very existence of our country on the faith that complete separation between the state and religion is best for the state and best for religion."3 In affecting this way of living, the great American experiment in freedom is proving a success.


9. French Canadians in the United States *

Thorsten V. Kalijarvi

[A recent immigrant group that has tended to retain its foreign language in this country is the French Canadian. Located predominantly in the New England states, French Canadians hold inferior occupations and inhabit poor residential areas. Their two distinctive institutions, the French language and the Catholic Church, help to maintain them as an identifiable group. The following article is an excellent summary of the problems and social situation of this white minority.]

The Canadian French are a virile, hardy people spread from the Gulf of Mexico to the Laurentians and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They are the descendants of pioneers who labored to convert this continent from a wilderness into cities and farms. Sterling qualities, faith in religion, retention of language, loyalty to family, and support of parochial institutions have been fundamental factors in their survival. Proud of their French ancestry and loyal to their traditions, they constitute an excellent element in the evolving American people. They are warm-hearted and generous, especially in the support of causes such as churches, hospitals, schools, and other institutions which they maintain by voluntary contributions; and yet they are noted for frugality and ability to exist on very little.

The experiences of these people in the United States have not always been of the happiest. On October 15, 1896, Professor MacDonald wrote in the Nation:

As a class, the New England French are treated considerately in public because of their votes, disparaged in private because of general

____________________
*
From The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 223 ( September, 1942), 132-7. Copyright 1942 by The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Reprinted by permission of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
3
Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U. S. 59 ( 1947).

-85-

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