The fifth act, the Quebec Act, included in the laws referred to as the Intolerable Acts, was not related to the punishment of Boston. It related to the expansion of the Province of Quebec and was seen as an additional threat to the liberty and expansion of the colonies.
The Purpose of the Quebec Act
The purpose of the Quebec Act was to:
- Extend the Province of Quebec to include territory west to the Mississippi, north to Hudson's Bay territory, and the islands in the mouth of the St. Lawrence
- Passed religious reforms that were highly favorable to the Catholic majority in Quebec and allowed Catholics to hold public offices
- The religious reforms were designed to boost the loyalty of the king's Canadian subjects in the face of growing resistance in the American colonies
- Denied the right to an elected legislative assembly
The Quebec Act was perceived as a new model for British colonial administration. As a result of the Quebec Act, the American revolutionaries failed to gain the support of the Canadians during the American Revolution. Read the 1774 Quebec Act text and words.
The Quebec Act - Expansion of territories
The territory of the Province of Quebec was expanded to take over part of the Indian Reserve, including a vast area of what is now southern Ontario together with parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Much of this land was claimed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Benjamin Franklin, George Washingtonand other colonial land speculators were furious because the Quebec Act limited opportunities for colonies to expand on their western frontiers and deprived them of their rights to land in that region. Some colonists, ignoring the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which was a temporary law, had already moved into the area.