Quebec Studies

Jefferson in Montreal: The Unusual Intervention of a Long-Deceased American President into the Debate over Québec’s Charter of Values

Quebec Studies (2015), 60, (1), 105–124.

Abstract

The last Québec election campaign featured an interesting (if unusual) injection of a long-dead American president into the heated public-policy debate over the Parti québécois’s proposed “charter of values,” which if adopted would have imposed certain restrictions on the manner in which civil servants and some others would be permitted to give symbolic expression to their religious convictions while functioning in the public sphere. The president was Thomas Jefferson, and his involvement in the contemporary domestic political arena was invoked by two Québec cabinet ministers, Bernard Drainville and Jean-François Lisée, in late 2013. They sought to rebut allegations that the proposed charter represented a retrograde and anti-democratic attack upon civil liberties; to do so, they invoked the author of the Declaration of Independence and a major source of inspiration for the Bill of Rights. This article assesses the Drainville-Lisée thesis by examining what American scholars have claimed about Jefferson’s famous metaphorical wall. It concludes that Jefferson, were he alive today, would likely have opposed rather than favored the charter.

Access Token
£25.00

Adams, Michael. “Bash Thy Neighbour.” Globe and Mail (Toronto), 19 October 2005: A21. Bash Thy Neighbour Globe and Mail A21 Google Scholar

Aziz, Omer, and David G. Haglund. “An ‘Obama Doctrine’?” Perspectives on Presidential Leadership: An International View of the White House, ed. Michael Patrick Cullinane and Clare Elliott. London: Routledge, 2014: 211–29. An ‘Obama Doctrine’? Perspectives on Presidential Leadership: An International View of the White House 211 29 Google Scholar

Boles, John B., and Randal L. Hill, eds. Seeing Jefferson Anew: In His Time and Ours. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2010: 145. Seeing Jefferson Anew: In His Time and Ours 145 Google Scholar

Bouchard, Gérard. Interculturalism: A View from Quebec, trans. Howard Scott. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Interculturalism: A View from Quebec Google Scholar

CBC News. “5 Things Quebec’s Values Charter Would Do and 5 it Wouldn’t.” 10 September 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/5-things-quebec-svalues-charter-would-do-and-5-it-wouldn-t-1.1699316 (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Drainville, Bernard, and Jean-François Lisée. “Jefferson in Quebec.” New York Times, 18 November 2013. http://nytimes.com/2013/11/19/opinion/jeffersonin-quebec.html (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Dreisbach, David. “The Mythical ‘Wall of Separation’: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse.” Heritage Foundation, 23 June 2006. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/06/the-mythical-wallof-separation-how-a-misused-metaphor-changed-church-state-law-policyand-discourse (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Felzenberg, Alvin S. The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few that We Didn’t): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game. New York: Basic Books, 2008. The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few that We Didn’t): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game Google Scholar

Fohlen, Claude. Jefferson à Paris, 1784–1789. Paris: Perrin, 1995. Jefferson à Paris, 1784–1789 Google Scholar

Foote, Henry Wilder. Thomas Jefferson, Champion of Religious Freedom, Advocate of Christian Morals. Boston: Beacon Press, 1947. Thomas Jefferson, Champion of Religious Freedom, Advocate of Christian Morals Google Scholar

Globe and Mail. “Thomas Jefferson versus the Parti Québecois.” 20 November 2013. http://wwwtheglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/thomas-jeffersonversus-the-parti-quebecois/article15534566 (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Haglund, David G. “Roosevelt as ‘Friend of France’ – But Which One?” Diplomatic History 31 (November 2007): 883–907. Roosevelt as ‘Friend of France’ – But Which One? Diplomatic History 31 883 907 Google Scholar

Haglund, David G. and Justin Massie. “Has Québec become a Northern Mexico? Public Opinion and America’s ‘Long War’.” American Review of Canadian Studies 39 (December 2009): 398–417. Has Québec become a Northern Mexico? Public Opinion and America’s ‘Long War’ American Review of Canadian Studies 39 398 417 Google Scholar

Joffe, Josef. “America Self-Contained?” American Interest 9 (May/June 2014): 7–9. America Self-Contained? American Interest 9 7 9 Google Scholar

Jusserand, Jean Jules. What Me Befell: The Reminiscences of J. J. Jusserand. London: Constable, 1933. What Me Befell: The Reminiscences of J. J. Jusserand Google Scholar

Kidd, Thomas. “What Did Jefferson Mean by ‘Wall of Separation’?” History News Network n.d. http://www.hnn.us/srticle/133032 (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Laframboise, Kalina. “ Parti Québecois Adopts a Tougher Stance on the Charter of Values.” Canadian University Press Newswire, 11 November 2013. http://dialog.studentassociation.ca/index.php/parti-quebecois-adopts-a-tougherstance-charter-values (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Lisée, Jean-François. “Quebec’s Last Stand.” New York Times, 10 January 2014. http://nytimes.com/2014/01/11/opinion/quebecs-last-stand.html?_r=1 (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Loconte, Joseph. “The Wall Jefferson Almost Built.” Heritage Foundation, 27 December 2001. http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2001/12/the-wall-jefferson-almost-buil (accessed September 2014). Google Scholar

McRoberts, Kenneth. “Canada and the Multinational State.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 34 (December 2001): 683–713. Canada and the Multinational State Canadian Journal of Political Science 34 683 713 Google Scholar

Martin, Lawrence. The Presidents and the Prime Ministers: Washington and Ottawa Face to Face – The Myth of Bilateral Bliss, 1867–1982. Markham, ON: PaperJacks, 1983. The Presidents and the Prime Ministers: Washington and Ottawa Face to Face – The Myth of Bilateral Bliss, 1867–1982 Google Scholar

Martin, Pierre. “PQ Should Declare Victory and Retreat on Values Charter.” Toronto Star, 23 September 2013. https://www.thestart.com/opinion/commentary/2013/09/23/pq-should-declare-victory-and-retreat-on-valuescharter.html# (accessed October 2014). Google Scholar

Massie, Justin. Francosphère: L’importance de la France dans la culture stratégique du Canada. Montréal: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2013. Francosphère: L’importance de la France dans la culture stratégique du Canada Google Scholar

Mead, Walter Russell. Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and how it Changed the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and how it Changed the World Google Scholar

Minnigerode, Meade. Jefferson, Friend of France, 1793: The Career of Edmond Charles Genet. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Son, 1928. Jefferson, Friend of France, 1793: The Career of Edmond Charles Genet Google Scholar

Morone, James A. “Jefferson’s Rickety Wall: Sacred and Secular in American Politics.” Social Research 76 (Winter 2009), 1199–1226. Jefferson’s Rickety Wall: Sacred and Secular in American Politics Social Research 76 1199 1226 Google Scholar

Patriquin, Martin. “Quebec’s Tea Party Moment.” New York Times, 12 November 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/opinion/quebecs-tea-party-moment.html?_r=1&y (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Peterson, Merrill D. “Jefferson and Religious Freedom.” Atlantic Monthly 274 (December 1994): 112ff. http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/96oct/obrien/peterson.htm (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

Preston, Andrew. Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012: chap. 5, “Liberation Theology.” Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy Google Scholar

Ragosta, John. Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s Creed. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2013. Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s Creed Google Scholar

Scott, David. “The Ohio Constitution of 1803, Jefferson’s Danbury Letter, and Religion in Education.” Ohio History 121 (2014): 73–88. The Ohio Constitution of 1803, Jefferson’s Danbury Letter, and Religion in Education Ohio History 121 73 88 Google Scholar

Sweig, Julia E. Friendly Fire: Loving Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century. New York: Public Affairs 2006. Friendly Fire: Loving Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century Google Scholar

Tucker, Robert W., and David C. Hendrickson. Empire of Liberty: The Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Empire of Liberty: The Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson Google Scholar

Woods, Allen. “Parti Quebecois Promises, Star Candidates and Values Charter Under Scrutiny as Quebec Hurtles toward Election.” Toronto Star, 24 February 2014. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/02/24/parti_quebecois_promises_star_candidates_and_values_charter_under_scrutiny_as_quebec_hurtles_toward_election.html (accessed February 2014). Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Haglund, David G.

Lu, Jonathan