L'introduction de la faillite au Bas-Canada : conflit social ou national?

Type of resource
L'introduction de la faillite au Bas-Canada : conflit social ou national?
An analysis of the debate on bankruptcy law in Lower Canada and how ethnic conflict became an important factor in the agitation for reform after 1830. The author shows how both English and French bankruptcy law were eliminated after 1760, largely as a result of the determined opposition of colonial merchants to the imperial law and of their preference for simpler procedures in cases of insolvency. From 1760 to 1820, the problem of bankruptcy only occasionally gave rise to debate, during times of crisis. In this initial phase, all the participants in the debate were English Quebecers, and socio-economic factors appear dominant. Between 1820 and 1839, however, the debate becomes intense and almost continuous. Ethnic conflict becomes an important factor when the Patriotes propose the re-introduction of the French procedure of "cession de biens". In 1830, after a decade of simple resistance, English-speaking merchants begin to agitate for reform on the model of British bankruptcy law. The author examines both English and French legal techniques relating to insolvency, as are the practical consequences of choosing one or the other, and the attitudes towards them expressed by various groups during the debates. In the light of this analysis, the author concludes that, in spite of the undeniable importance of socio-economic factors in the emergence of a movement in favor of a bankruptcy law, the debate on this legal reform in Lower Canada cannot be properly understood without taking ethnic conflict into account.
Revue d'histoire de l'Amérique française
Vol. 40
no. 2
Automne 1986
Kolish, Evelyn. “L’introduction de la faillite au Bas-Canada : conflit social ou national?” Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française Vol. 40, no. 2 (Automne 1986): 215–235. https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/haf/1986-v40-n2-haf2343/304444ar.pdf.
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