The Effect of French Nationalism on Canadian Society
Change is an inevitable outcome in society, today will not be the same as tomorrow or yesterday due to some factors that shape our daily activities. Many societies have their own cultures and traditions that they uphold, however sometimes a society can adopt a different culture because it is similar to their beliefs or it has better values than theirs. Additionally, a society has the choice of discarding new cultures if they not conform to their beliefs. A change that occurs in one nation or society can cause ripples of changes across the world. French nationalism is the manifestation of the cultures of the French society. Indeed, the rise of French nationalism, did cause a ripple of change to the Canadian society.
The many wars between England and France led to the emergence of French nationalism, mostly the war was about France reconquering its lost territories from England. Joan of Arc was an icon of the French nationalism. the French revolution of 1789 led to the emergence of nationalism as the ideals of French nationalism was based from those of the revolution (Dan & Dinwiddy, 1988). Values such as equality, fraternity and equality were the bedrock of the French Revolution and the French nationalism movement hoped to mirror this. The ruler of the time, Napoleon, invaded many other nations which in turn led to the spread of the French nationalism and its ideals.
The death of Napoleon saw the French nationalism take a drastic turn; it become a puppet for the army so that the army could achieve its political goals. The French nationalism became assertive and extreme in patriotism which was not ideal. Due to this nature as the French people fought against themselves regarding what French nationalism should be about. The battle raged between the conservatives and republican as each side had their own ideas as to what nationalism should be. It came to the point where French nationalism was a profascist extreme movement that caused more harm than good. Since the 19th century the aim of the French nationalism has been to promote national pride of France.
The question that arises is; what does the rise of French nationalism has to do with Canada? Interestingly, a large section of the Canadian population speaks French; this creates a connection between France and Canada. This population is so large that it has created its own cultural community that has impacted Canada society not only culturally but also politically, economically and socially. The issue in Canada during the French revolution was that the French speaking Canadians were accused of not supporting overseas military as much as the Canadians who spoke English. French Nationalism ensured that French as a language become one of the official languages in Canada.
Before the French revolution, there was a distinct difference between the French in France and the France who occupied New France in Canada. Fernand Ouellte believe that the rise of the French Nationalism that cleared the difference between French of France and Canada (The Canada Encyclopedia, 2020). There are four types of French-Canadian nationalism according to Leon Dion, a political scientist; this are conservative, liberal, social- democratic and socialist (The Canada Encyclopedia 2020). All these types of nationalism played a role in the society of Canada. Notably it is French nationalism that prevented the French in Canada to be absorbed by Canada which would mean that they would lose their identity.
The Canadian French Nationalism has been existent for over two hundred years and the chances that it will continue to exist are high due to its nature. The fact that most Canadian speak French as their first’s language is going to cement Canadian French nationalism in Canada.
Dann, O., & Dinwiddy, J. (Eds.). (1988). Nationalism in the Age of the French Revolution. A&C Black.
The Canadian encyclopedia (2020) [ Accessed on 25 November 2020] [Online] from