The Quebec Act

June 5, 2017

Quebec Act, 1774

Quebec Act, 1774. Library and Archives Canada, AMICUS 10238873


With the conquest of New France, the British had to adapt their rules of law, which favoured the Protestant religion and English common law, to a territory that was Catholic and governed by French civil law. Under the Quebec Act of 1774, Catholics were permitted to hold office (forbidden in other territories of the British Empire); Protestant clergy were given support; French civil law was reinstated while English criminal law was retained; and Quebec’s borders were extended into the Ohio-Mississippi area. The act also put into place the appointment of a governor and legislative council, making no provision for an elected assembly. It was unpopular with British merchants in the colony, and especially in the Thirteen Colonies (the future United States), where the acceptance of Catholicism was much resented. The Quebec Act was one of the “Intolerable Acts” which led to the American Revolution.

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