Quebec Act – 31st March 1774 – One of the Intolerable Acts – Expansion of Quebec at Cost of American Freedom

The Quebec province was controlled by Britain during the time of the American Revolution. In 1774, England’s parliament passed the Quebec Act. The Quebec Act allowed several things all which annoyed the American colonists. Four previous acts passed by parliament had been passed in direct result of the Boston Tea Party and were a way for Britain and her parliament to get even with Boston and those that were loyal to the idea of a free America. These acts were called the Intolerable Acts.

  • One of the Intolerable Acts closed the port of Boston.
  • Another of these Intolerable Acts took Massachusetts’s right to vote on officials and prohibited colonists from holding town meetings.
  • The third of the Intolerable Acts allowed a military governor to take control and gave him authority to take anyone who he felt was disloyal to the crown of England.
  • The fourth Intolerable Act required the colonists to house and feed a British soldier if he requested housing.

One can see why colonists would call these acts intolerable. The Quebec Act was the last of these Intolerable Acts. All of these acts were passed within four months. What a shock to the daily lives of the Bostonians and the other colonists.

Quebec Act – The Details

The Quebec Act allowed for the expanding of Quebec’s provincial lines. The expanded lines cut into already established colonies like Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Some of these lands also belonged to or had been explored by some famous men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

Map of Quebec in 1774 - Expanding of Quebec Provincial  Lines

Map of Quebec in 1774 – Expanding of Quebec Provincial Lines

Quebec Act – The Religious Downside

The Quebec Act also allowed for Catholics to hold government offices. The American colonies were predominately Protestant, so the allowing of Catholics to hold offices was not looked upon very well. England at the time was not particularly fond of Catholics. Colonists believed it was just another way for England to reprimand the American colonists. Britain must have known that a war was coming.

Qubec Act of March 1774 - Catholics to hold Government Offices

Qubec Act of March 1774 – Catholics to hold Government Offices

They were trying to gain the support of the Canadian settlers, but the Quebec Act did not allow for the Canadians to have a representative in Britain’s parliament and the laws that the elected Catholic Canadians passed could be reviewed and rejected by the king of England and the parliament. Due to this Quebec Act, when the war did begin, a year later, the Canadians would not ally themselves with the Americans.

Quebec Act – The Consequences

The colonists were once again enraged by yet another law passed by Britain that hindered the Americans from expansion or limited their freedom. The Americans would have to either relinquish their will for freedom and right to anything related to government in the colonies, or they would have to resist Britain’s parliament and push out the British influence. The colonists would eventually choose to try to push out Britain’s influence in America; for just a year after the Quebec Act was made, the American Revolution had begun.

By: Ashley Sandridge

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