In 1774, the British Parliament signed the Québec Act, which outlined new legislative structures and territorial boundaries for the territory of Québec. Québec was the former French territory of New France, which had been ceded to Britain under the 1763 Treaty of Paris following the Seven Years’ War. The act represented a series of significant concessions aimed at gaining the support of Québec’s almost exclusively French-speaking population. The majority of these French Canadians were Catholic and thus ineligible for positions of public office under British rule. Additionally, the British were concerned about the possibility of rebellion spreading from the Thirteen Colonies to the south. As a result, the Québec Act ushered in changes that included allowing Catholics to take public office, instating the use of French law in civil legal matters and massive expansion of Québec’s territory. These concessions caused uproar within the Thirteen Colonies and played a large part in the initiation of the American Revolution.
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