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Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau was born in Montreal on Oct. 18, 1919. His father's family had moved to Canada from France in the 1600's. His mother's family was descended from British colonists in America, who did indeed remain loyal to Britain at the time of the American Revolution in 1775. Pierre, as he is called, grew up in Montreal, where he attended a Jesuit college, Jean-de-Breboeuf. He then went on to the University of Montreal where he received a law degree. In 1945, Trudeau earned a master's degree in political economy at Harvard University then went on to study at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris and at the London School of Economics and Political Science in Britain.

Trudeau engaged himself onto the political scene during the late 1940's and the 1950's, when he became concerned about the political situation in Quebec. The province was governed by Premier Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale Party.

Trudeau and a group of young liberal friends set out to expose what they saw as dishonesty in the provincial government. They believed this corruption had resulted from political, religious, and business leaders working together to prevent reforms within the province. To express their ideas in a suitable manner, they began their own magazine, which was named Cite Libre, which is translated in English to "The Community of the Free".

Trudeau worked in many ways for reform in Quebec. The most publicized of all events took place in 1949 when the miners of Asbestos went on strike. The strikers blockaded the roads into Asbestos and kept the strikebreakers from entering. Trudeau, who was showing all measures of a reformer to the provincial government, spent more than three weeks rallying the strikers. To the police and many ministers he was known as the...