Quiet Revolution

Essay by ThaleiaHigh School, 12th gradeA, April 2004

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Coined by an anonymous writer in the Globe and Mail, the "Quiet Revolution" was a period spanning throughout 1960 into 1966 in which Quebec spearheaded a movement throughout Canada of radical social, political and cultural change. Quebec's outlook plummeted from one of a religious viewpoint right into one of a secular perspective. All the traditionalism of before was replaced by an increasingly liberal attitude towards authority and the church. In addition, while Canada experienced this movement separate of Quebec as well, it just goes to show what can become of a country if something like the Quiet Revolution could happen to such an established province and produce such dramatic changes for the ensuing decay as well as for the greater good.

Prior to the Quebec Revolution, Quebec was led by Maurice Duplessis, a charismatic man who upheld the established order that gave the Roman Catholic Church control over education and social services.

He was the type of Prime Minister every province would want, Duplessis kept taxes and provincial debt low, implemented a generous minimum wage, and oversaw the construction of numerous schools, hospitals and highways while also ensuring that rural Quebec had electricity. However, throughout his career as Premier of Quebec, which ran from 1944 to 1959, younger politicians, one of which was Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, criticized Duplessis quite harshly. They believed that the Union Nationale government was behind the times, conservative and corrupt. Little did they know that Duplessis' time in office would be an era of unprecedented prosperity for Quebec that would doubtfully ever occur again.

Following Maurice Duplessis' death in 1959, Jean Lesage, leader of the Liberal Party, was elected Prime Minister of Quebec. The first major change to take place under his guidance was the widespread...