Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Patrician Families and the Making of Quebec: The Taschereaus and McCords

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Patrician Families and the Making of Quebec: The Taschereaus and McCords

Article excerpt

Brian Young, Patrician Families and the Making of Quebec: The Taschereaus and McCords (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014), 472pp. Colour section. 120 b&w photos. 4 maps. 11 tables. 2 diagrams. Cased. $110. ISBN 978-0-7735-4435-2. Paper. $34.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4436-9.

Brian Young's Patrician Families and the Making of Quebec tells the story of four generations of the Taschereau and McCord families. Beginning in the frontier world of New France and ending with the fall of Premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau's government in June 1936, Young examines how a French-Canadian and an English-Canadian family in Quebec dealt with, and sometimes succumbed to, the challenges posed by cultural, political, and social upheaval. It is an impressive and fascinating study.

Though Patrician Families ends with the last of the Taschereaus being 'put on ice by the Quebec populace' (p. 330), Young makes it clear that, across four generations, they were a remarkably successful dynasty. He explains that success by dissecting issues like the acquisition of property, the maintenance of seigneurial power, the importance of marriage and inheritance, religion, family life, and engagement in colonial and provincial politics. Whether the family head was a woman or a man, the Taschereaus were survivors. They knew when and how to bend to the political and social winds whipped up by events like the British Conquest, the American and French revolutions, and the rebellions of 1837-8. That is not to say that the Taschereaus always had an easy time of it. As Young points out, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the habitants, who had their own views on how the world should work, frequently challenged the family's hold on power, whether at the local or provincial level. …

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