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The Pauper’s Freedom

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the recognition that individual and collective freedom lay at the foundation of the social order held out the hope for a more or less definitive solution to the problems of poverty and crime. But, in Quebec as elsewhere, the aspirations associated with the transition to democracy and “liberalism” rapidly gave way to a bourgeois ideology where the poor were held personally responsible for their sad plight – since they were free, their poverty was allegedly their own fault. rnrnJean-Marie Fecteau analyzes this complex history and the ways in which it was influenced by both the specific conditions of Quebec’s political context and the overarching issues raised by the transition to liberal democracy in the West. The Pauper’s Freedom takes an original approach to the role played by the province’s institutions – including the state and the Catholic Church.

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