Quebec Suffrage Movement

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As a society develops, it changes as well. During the colonial development period, society was a blank canvas which followed the rules and traditions of the settlers and the colonizing countries. One of the many traditions was the role and duties of the people, meaning the notion of citizenship. In other words, how does a person define themselves as a person of their home country? Many would answer their right to vote. However, there were limitations to the right to vote. This privilege was only given to young white men with property ownership. During the early nineteenth century, Europe lead the women suffrage movement that expanded to women everywhere who fought for the right to vote. It spread within Canada with the support of the National Council of Women of Canada, in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. In contrast to the United States, who has the Constitution to allow the vote at the federal and state level, the Canadian federal government does not and the right to vote has to pass through each province.1 Yet, the last province to obtain the right to vote was Quebec. This is significant because there has been political tension between the Quebec government and the federal government. How is it that Quebec women have the same obligations as the men, but are unable to enjoy their rights? Is it a cultural or social conflict? The main question is how the French-Canadian identity of Quebec and its culture had negatively influenced the Quebec’s women suffrage movement, during the early twentieth century. The objective is to examine delay of the right to vote within the province of Quebec, through the Quebec identity and the values of a hierarchical family, during the late nineteenth century and early 20th c...

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...women would only be able to have a social role, through fulfilling their domestic one which is the sole purpose of a women.19 In other words, the man is the provider, while the woman caretaker. For the women, this means they should stay mothers and wives for their reproduction capabilities instills a sense that they are “guardians of the French Canadian race and culture.”20 Within the role of matron of the house, Quebec women are meant to stay out of the public eye, in which they are tied to motherhood, household chores, and caretaker. In comparison, it seemed that single Quebec women wanted the right to vote more than the married women because it would give them a sense of social representation.21 As a result, if women were given the right to vote within Quebec, it would shift the family dynamics negatively, since they have separated the gender roles for centuries.

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