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Place of conference
American Council for Quebec Studies
I grew up in Lewiston as a Franco-American on both sides of my family. My heritage has always been a fascination of mine. Anyone who studies Franco-Americans can’t help but notice that there is a striking sense of what it means to be a part of the big-C Community. Franco Americans are good Catholics, their work ethic is unmatched, families are generally on the large side, and they generally vote Democrat (this is changing a bit, but historically is the case). This social order is well known to those in the community. The idea that Francos have a strongly bonded sense of identity has been well established in the realm of Franco-American Studies. Historians like Mark Paul Richard in his book Loyal But French have done an extensive amount of research and come to this conclusion.
What I want to know, though, is what caused this to happen? After doing my undergraduate thesis seminar in the history of written media, I believe that the newspaper Le Messager from Lewiston had a heavy part to play in forging this sense of identity and homogeneity for the community. In order to prove this point, I’m going to try to prove to you three things: That this newspaper was an integral source of information dissemination within the community, that the Francos really did have the overt sense of identity and homogeneity that I think they do, and that the paper consciously pushed this sense of identity on the community. To do this, I’m going to try to focus mostly on the early 20th century, an era which I believe saw the full force of this identity movement.
Roberge, Mitchel ("Mitch") John, "Le Messager: A Franco-American Newspaper and its Impact" (2017). Franco-American Centre Franco-Américain Undergraduate Scholarship. 2.
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