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America has generated a great deal of thought and writing in Quebec, but this commentary
has never possessed the obsessiveness and anxieties that have characterized English
Canadian writing on the United States. Yet both English- and French-speaking Canada
share a vigorous and long-standing anti-American tradition. Indeed, from the eighteenth
century to the present day, leading French Canadian writers and intellectuals have
offered sweeping condemnations of American society. This apparent continuity masks
a fundamental shift in the underpinnings of anti-American rhetoric in Quebec: primarily
a left-wing idea today, anti-Americanism was essentially a right-wing doctrine until
the postwar years. This paper explores the nature and origins of anti-Americanism
in French Canada before 1945 and finds it tied to notions of anti-modernism on the
part of French Canadian intellectuals.
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