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A Distinct Alien Race
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Baraka Books
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ISBN-13: 9781771861694
Americans don’t think of Canada as a source of potential terrorists—speaking a foreign tongue, serving a foreign religion, and invading their country. But when a million French-Canadians crossed the border between 1840 and 1930, many seeking work in New England’s burgeoning textile industry, they were cast as foot soldiers in an alleged Roman Catholic plot.

A Distinct Alien Race places these Franco-Americans in the context of contemporary issues: the rise and fall of manufacturing in the U.S.; Nativism and the fear of the Other; emigration to the U.S. across land borders; and the construction of race. Vermette traces individuals and families, from the textile barons whose profits in the Caribbean and China trades financed a new industry, to the rural poor of Québec who crowded into fetid tenements after the Civil War. His social history exposes the anti-Franco-American agitation of Protestant clergy, the Ku Klux Klan, and the eugenics movement.

Author: David Vermette is a researcher, writer, and speaker on the history and identity of the descendants of French North America. He was born and raised in Massachusetts.


“the work of David Vermette on the French-Canadians who migrated from Quebec to the United States from the 1860s to the early decades of the twentieth century constitutes the equivalent of a gold mine.” Vincent Geloso, (Economic History Association)

“First, let me say simply that this is a terrific book, the best synthesis of Franco-American history written to date…Both the research and prose are wonderful…Everyone with an interest in Franco-Americans should read this book.” Leslie Choquette, Résonance Vol. 1 , Article 24.

“Readers interested in Canadian and American immigration history will appreciate the depth of Vermette’s research and the fascinating story he tells.” Publishers Weekly

“Meticulously researched and overflowing with facts, yet so well written that it’s difficult to put down, the book tells a story few Americans are aware of.” Emilie Noelle Provost, The Bean Magazine (Lowell, Mass.)
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