Mason Wade, Acadia and Quebec: The Perception of an Outsider


198 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-88629-149-6
DDC 971.4




Edited by N.E.S. Griffiths and G.A. Rawlyk
Reviewed by Ian A. Andrews

Ian A. Andrews is a high-school social sciences teacher and editor of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association’s Focus.


Mason Wade, author of The French Canadians, 1760-1967, died in 1986.
Fellow historians Griffiths and Rawlyk have chosen to edit a volume
which explores both the life of this controversial writer and his
unpublished works.

Wade’s publications on French Canada were discounted by Quebec
nationalist historians because they were written by an
“outsider”—and an American to boot. They were discounted by some
historians who did not consider Wade an “authentic” historian since
he had not acquired the “proper” academic qualifications.
Nevertheless, Wade was elected by his peers as president of the Canadian
Historical Association in 1964-65, the first non-Canadian to be so

The first section includes an article by Griffiths that looks at Mason
Wade, the person, and one by David Farr that looks at Wade as a
historian of Quebec. The central section includes five articles on the
Maritimes that were written by Wade in the 1960s and 1970s but had never
been published before. In his customary ponderous way, Wade narrates the
early history of Quebec and Acadia, the return of the Acadians after
their expulsion, the Planter colonies and the effect of the American
Revolution on Nova Scotia, and the arrival of the Loyalists that led to
the formation of New Brunswick. In the final section Stephen Kenny
reflects on Wade’s place among historians in Canada.

Wade believed in Quebec’s distinct-society status, but stated that
“communities can be equal without being identical.” He also
challenged the predominant nationalist interpretations of Quebec’s
past. Although much of his writing and research is now dated, Wade’s
contribution to the history of French Canada is acknowledged in this


“Mason Wade, Acadia and Quebec: The Perception of an Outsider,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,