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La franco-américanie ou le Québec d’en bas

Cahiers de géographie du Québec
Consortium Erudit
Publication Date
DOI: 10.7202/021422ar
  • Franco-Américanie
  • Migration
  • Prolétarisation
  • Québec
  • Nouvelle-Angleterre
  • Woonsocket
  • Franco-Americans
  • Proletarianization
  • New England


The Franco-Americans of New England had become at the end of the nineteenth century, the most proletarianized of all French speaking groups in North America. Québécois people migrated in large numbers during the American Civil War (1861-1865), attracted by the early and expanding industrial development in the Northeastern states. In two successive waves, whose peak years appear to be located around 1865 and 1890, the exodus of small farmers from the St. Lawrence Valley converged on such midsized cities as Manchester, N.H., Lowell and Fall River, Mass. Able to found many national parishes in a short period of time, the French-speaking population of New England followed the leadership of their Catholic clergy and conservative petty bourgeoisie in an attempt to maintain intact their ancestral ways and customs. Because of this strong national consciousness Little Canadas took shape in all the industrial cities of the Northeastern United States, with the exception of Boston, forming Québécois strongholds in the midst of the larger Anglo-Protestant society. Through the example of Woonsocket in Rhode Island, the author illustrates the major elements of Franco-American history. As the most important component of the Québécois diaspora in North America, the New England French populations provide strong evidence, in the nineteenth century, of the enduring influence of the American Republic on the shaping of a modem day Québec.

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