The Boss: Maurice Duplessis


Statue of Maurice Duplessis

Maurice Duplessis, also known as “The Boss” was the Premier of Quebec for 18 years. The years from 1936-1939 and then 1944-1959, where Duplessis reigned was known as the “Great Darkness”. The reason why the era was called the great darkness because many secrets were kept away from the public. There was no economic advancements and basically Quebec was left in the dark. Duplessis was a very powerful leader and led the party Union Nationale. This party was made up of Conservatives and disinfected Liberals. Duplessis kept the people  away from those who would do harm to them or to assimilate them into the foreign and liberal ideas outside of Quebec. He also disapproved the formation of trade unions because of its communist ideologies. In sum, he didn’t want Quebec to change at all. The Duplessis era ended in 1959 by the death of Duplessis in his office. Though, what happens to Quebec after Duplessis’ death?

How was Maurice Duplessis able to remain in power?

The reason why  Maurice Duplessis was able to govern for 18 years was because  of the Quebecois culture, the 3F’s. The 3F’s supported  his conservative ideology. Faith was  key in French culture and the Catholic church played a great part in the French-Canadian’s lives.  Duplessis made the church close to the state (by paving roads etc.) which was very important to the French. Duplessis was a lot alike to the church in many cases. Duplessis blackmailed, bought and sold people and did other corruptful things. Though the people of Quebec were already used to corruption , just like the Priests. Duplessis told the people that he was poor himself, but he wasn’t, which was like the church too. He even told the people to “Help yourself, and help yourself”. Like the Bishops, he campaigned and used public money for private contracts. With the Padlock Law, it was the same as the Priests randomly coming into people’s houses. Duplessis basically replicated the church ways and gave the symbols of French to the people. The farmers also made it possible for Duplessis to remain in power. Duplessis gave many bonuses to the farmers like baby bonus and 5000 government jobs. With the seigneral system that the farmers followed, Duplessis reminded them of the manor. Duplessis treated Quebec as his wife (he was a life long bachelor), which was like the priest who devoted their life to the church.

Duplessis gave what the people wanted. He represented the French Nationalism that the French had. He resisted the English and wanted Quebec to be more French, thus giving the people symbolic nationalism like bridges. Duplessis gave back the monuments that the French lost. French society was already like this and Duplessis just gave what the French were used to.

How did Quebecois culture result to Marginalization? 

The 3 F’s and C of Quebecois culture led to Quebecois marginalization during the Duplessis Era.  First what is the definition of marginalization? It is when you are excluded, ignored, or relegated to the outer edge of a community. Completely or mostly left out of the predominant economic and cultural power structure in a society.
Faith was main reason to the marginalization because the Catholic church controlled most of Quebec. People couldn’t step up or disagree with the church. The church kept with their traditional ideas thus there were no changes in Quebec. The Protestant (English) and the Catholics (French) had many conflicts throughout Europe, causing Quebec being excluded from the rest of Canada.
Farming was the central economic unit of French society and Duplessis  favoured rural areas over city development and tried to improve agriculture instead of other things. Farmers couldn’t learn about the outside language and compared to the others, farmers were poorer. Farming reminded them of the old times, so no advancement in technology occurred.
Families in Quebec were extremely large. Most families practiced Catholicism and large families were required to work the family farms. Most of the money was spent on these big families.
The Civil law  of the French-Canadians were a contrast from the English who followed a legal system based on the common law tradition. The British colonists also spoke English and practiced Protestantism, unlike the French-Canadians. The French-Canadians had a huge sense of French Nationalism and   resisted the English. The  people liked  symbolic nationalism and wanted Quebec to be more French. The French opposed of things such as conscription and trades which the English did. Over all the Quebecois kept with their traditions and resented the English ways.


Spacecat. “Duplessis.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 30 Mar. 2006. Web. 29 May 2012. aaaaaaaaaa<;.


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