Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
August 2004

Biographies of Prominent Quebec and Canadian

Historical Figures


William Bennett Munro




Damien-Claude Bélanger,

Department of History,

McGill University

Political scientist and historian, was born at Almonte, Ontario. He was educated at Queen's University, at the University of Edinburgh, at Harvard University, and at the University of Berlin. From 1901 to 1904 he taught history at Williams College, Massachusetts, and was professor of government at Harvard University until 1929, when he went to the California Institute of Technology as professor of history and government. In 1927 he was elected president of the American Political Science Association, and in 1929 president of the American Association of University Professors. He retired from teaching in 1945 and died at Pasadena, California, in 1957. William B. Munro was an influential North American scholar who showed a sustained interest in Canadian affairs throughout his career and wrote a number of books on the history of New France . Among these were The Seignioral System in Canada. A Study in French Colonial Policy (1907) and the still useful Documents Relating to the Seigniorial Tenure in Canada, 1598-1854, published by the Champlain Society in 1908. He also authored a couple of highly successful textbooks on American politics and government, including the standard Government of the United States, which went through five editions and two title changes between 1919 and 1946. In charge of Harvard's Bureau of Municipal Research, Munro was a keen observer of United States municipal government and sought to share the lessons of American municipal reform with Canadians. Much of his work was aimed at revealing the common features of North American politics and government. His American Influences on Canadian Government (1929) was one of the most important pieces of continentalist scholarship published in the interwar period. In this seminal study, Munro argued that "of all the branches of government in Canada, the government of cities has proved the most susceptible to American influence," and that the Canadian party system was organized and operated on an American model.


© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College