Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

List of Tables and Boxes

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgements

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pp. xi-xii

I wish to thank all the individuals and organizations that have made it possible for me to write this book: the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for the grant that allowed me to carry out the research on which this book is based; the Human Resources office at UQAM, which awarded me a completion grant to write it...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

Today Canadian society is almost unanimous in condemning violence toward children. It considers the murders and sexual abuse to which they are subjected to be the worst kind of crime, and it even questions the use of corporal punishment in child-rearing. As these lines were being written, the Supreme Court of Canada was imposing very narrow limits on the interpretation of Section 43 of the Criminal Code...

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PART I: In the Good Old Days: A Rural Society, 1850–1919

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pp. 7-10

In 1850 Quebec was called Canada East (Lower Canada in some official documents) and was governed under the Act of Union (1841). The number of its inhabitants, initially 890,261, would rise to one and a half million by the turn of the twentieth century. More than threequarters were of French origin. The birth rate was high...

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Chapter 1 A Discourse Full of Good Intentions

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pp. 11-36

In 1900 the writer Louis Fréchette, who was born in 1839, published his memoirs, in which he described the child-rearing practices of his childhood...

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Chapter 2 Everyday Violence within Families, 1850–1919

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pp. 37-74

Louis Fréchette describes the zeal with which parents punished their children in his native village in the middle of the nineteenth century...

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PART II: An Urban Society, 1920–1939

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pp. 75-78

Immediately after World War I the attention of the civil and religious authorities became concentrated on the phenomenon of urbanization, which was perceived as a threat to French-Canadian family values. However, in 1920 a drama erupted that transformed public opinion and showed that the traditional rural family was not the haven of tranquility that conservative thinkers had imagined...

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Chapter 3 Aurore Gagnon, the “Child Martyr”

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pp. 79-104

Among the stereotypes of parental violence that of the wicked stepmother is probably the oldest: traces of it have been found in antiquity.1 In Europe it has been kept alive by fairy tales, especially “Hansel and Gretel,” “Cinderella,” and “Snow White,”2 and by children’s games like those described by Rétif de la Bretonne in the eighteenth century3...

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Chapter 4 A More Moderate Approach, 1920–1939

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pp. 105-118

The sentencing of the Gagnons aimed to provide a lesson to parents with brutal tendencies. Did such sentiments reach the population as a whole? And, in that case, to what degree did the family magazines and the newspapers serve as an intermediary between the judge and the public?...

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Chapter 5 Violence Viewed from the Juvenile Delinquents’ Court, 1920–1939

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pp. 119-138

Among the mothers who wrote to Colette some were in such despair about a child that they believed to be so full of every vice that they considered sending him or her to a reform school. Some had already tried severity, but without success. “I beat him so much I’m afraid I’ll drive him mad,” wrote one. Colette replied that they were in a better position than anyone to rear such boys...

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PART III: From World War II to the Quiet Revolution, 1940–1969

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pp. 139-144

The period between World War ii and the 1960s, corresponding to the Maurice Duplessis era in Quebec (1945–59), has been stigmatized as “The Great Darkness.” But a closer look allows a glimpse of social changes that heralded the Quiet Revolution. Between 1941 and 1961 the population of the province grew from 3,331,882 to 5,259,211, despite a declining birth rate. In 1931 it stood at 29.7 per 1,000 inhabitants...

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Chapter 6 New Expertise and a Different Approach to Parenting, 1940–1969

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pp. 145-190

Until 1940 discussion of child-rearing was permeated with moral and religious considerations and largely based on the Bible and theological texts. This orientation was due to the important part played by priests as authors of books and contributors to family magazines. They were just as numerous after 1940...

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Chapter 7 “Is That a Good Way to Raise Children?” Violence in the Advice Columns, 1940–1969

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pp. 191-220

After 1940, as before, violence inside the home showed up in the advice columns, the files of the Juvenile Delinquents’ Court, and newspaper reports. We will analyse these three sources in turn in order to bring out the extent of each, though they are in fact indissociable. The first offers the additional advantage of providing information about the advice given by columnists...

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Chapter 8 Violence Viewed from the Juvenile Delinquents’ Court and the Children’s Aid Clinic, 1940–1965

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pp. 221-248

At the turn of the 1940s, in addition to bringing about a change in the attitudes of experts and columnists, the rise of the behavioural sciences exerted an influence on the practices of the Juvenile Delinquents’ Court. Combined with the expertise of specialists in Mental Hygiene and the experience acquired by probation officers...

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Chapter 9 Aurore, Pauline, Hélène, and Barbara: The Child Martyrs of Allô Police, 1953–1965

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pp. 249-272

In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, thanks to mass circulation newspapers, the public discovered the phenomenon of abused children. To appeal to readers’ emotions, French journalists and novelists of the time used the term “child martyr.” In Quebec, starting from 1920, newspapers and popular literature endowed the Gagnon affaire with such resonance...

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Chapter 10 “Humour Is No Laughing Matter”:1 Corporal Punishment in Quebec Comic Strips, 1945–1969

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pp. 273-294

Child-rearing has never been easy. Starting in 1940, parents’ task became complicated because of the abundance and diversity of advice available to them.2 Certain specialists urged them to refrain from corporal punishment, while others, of a more traditionalist stripe, advocated its retention. Most writers condemned beatings administered in anger...

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Conclusion

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pp. 295-300

In the violence used against children in Quebec families between 1850 and 1965 we find a process that has been described by Alice Miller and many other specialists. First of all, the causes: the attempt to justify violence as a requirement of child-rearing, and the almost unconscious reproduction by parents of the violence to which they themselves had been subjected in childhood...

Appendix: Oral Testimonies

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pp. 301-302

Notes

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pp. 303-362

Bibliography

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pp. 363-384

Index of Names

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pp. 385-396

Books in the series

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pp. 395-396