Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
23 August 2000

Biographies of Prominent Quebec Historical Figures

George-Etienne Cartier


Claude Bélanger,
Department of History,
Marianopolis College

A supporter of the Patriots' movement in 1837, Cartier (1814-1873) rose to prominence in the 1850's as the undisputed leader of the French Canadian Block, renamed the Bleus. Associated to John A. Macdonald in the Liberal-Conservative coalition, he shared with him the duties of  premiership in the late 1850's and early sixties. His acceptance of the Great Coalition made Confederation possible. As a delegate to all of the constitutional conferences that led to the passing of the Constitution Act (1867) the presence of Cartier guaranteed that French Canadian rights would be fully protected in the new Confederation by insisting that federalism was the only acceptable system of government to Quebec. Cartier envisaged that the first line of defense for French Canadian rights in the new Dominion would be their strong representation in the House of Commons and the federal cabinet as well as the key role that the Québécois were expected to play in the formation of Canadian political parties.

Consult the extensive page on George-Etienne Cartier in the Encyclopedia section.

© 2003 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College