Thomas Chapais is one of the great French-Canadian
political and intellectual figures of the beginning of the
20th century. Appointed to the Legislative Council of
Quebec in 1892, then to the Senate of Canada in 1919,
he played a leading role in the debates on educational
reform in Quebec as well as in the Manitoba and
Ontario school crises.
Notwithstanding, he is mainly remembered today as a
historian and not as a politician. Biographer of Jean
Talon and of the Marquis de Montcalm, and author of a
remarkable overview of the history of Canada, Thomas
Chapais weaved a coherent historical narrative,
contributing to the advancement of knowledge and to
important historiographical debates. Chapais occupies
a leading place within the history of intellectual culture
in French-Canada. Chapais the historian was indeed the
last great representative of French-Canadian loyalism, a
doctrine notably based on a particular interpretation of
the 1760 Conquest.
In this seminal work on Chapais, D.C. Bélanger probes
the historian’s writings to better understand its
emergence, its socio-cultural context, the main tenets
of this thought, its influence and its critical legacy.