"... You Can Beat Us in the House of Assembly But You Can't Beat Us in the Street": The Symbolic Value of Charlettown's Orange Lodge Riot (1).

By Historical Studies

  • Publication Date: 2006-01-01
  • Genre: History

Book Summary

On 12 July 1877 Prince Edward Island's record of religious non-violence came to a dramatic end when the Charlottetown headquarters of the Loyal Orange Order bore the brunt of an angry mob. As this study reveals, the incident in question is fraught with symbolism that reflects the realities of the politico-religious discourse that had come to dominate life on P.E.I. over the previous twenty-one years. When bitter debate over the place of religion in the education system split the Island community along denominational lines beginning in the mid-1850s, the Roman Catholic minority inevitably found themselves on the losing end. Alienated and suspected of Romanist plots, they were blocked from holding power in government, and were unable to implement their desired policies. As tensions mounted, frustrated members of the Roman Catholic population came to view the Orange Order as a symbol of their opposition, culminating in the 12 July 1877 attack of the Order's Charlottetown headquarters. Le 12 juillet 1877, une bande d'emeutiers mit fin subitement a l'histoire de non-violence en matiere religieuse qui caracterisait l'ile du Prince edouard, en attaquant le quartier general de Charlottetown de l'Ordre des Orangistes. Cet article revele que l'incident etait rempli d'un symbolisme refletant les realites du discours politico-religieux qui dominait l'Ile du Prince edouard pendant les vingt et une annees precedentes. Suite aux debats acerbes qui diviserent la communaute de l'Ile a partir des annees 1850 sur la place de la religion dans le systeme d'education, la minorite catholique se trouva dans une situation desavantageuse. Alienee et accusee de conspirations romanistes , les catholiques ont perdu tout acces aux pouvoirs gouvernementaux et se sont retrouves incapables de mettre en oeuvre les politiques qu'ils desiraient. Lorsque la situation s'intensifia, des membres frustres de la population catholique ont percu l'Ordre des Orangistes comme etant le symbole des forces qui s'opposaient a eux, ce qui les mena a attaquer le quartier general des Orangistes de Charlottetown.

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