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Chapter IV

The Gathering Storm: ationalism and Schools 1900-1914

The years, preceding the first world war, were a period of disorien­ tation in the Rural Municipality of Rhineland. Accommodation to English Canadian Society increasingly became an issue which divided the populace of Rhineland; there were those who accepted Canadian values and those who wished to remain separate from the larger society. This division was most evident in the matter concerning schools.

Large scale immigration to the Canadian West from eastern Eu­ rope after 1896, along with the 1897 Bilingual Clause of the Manitoba Schools Act, led to another phase of the Manitoba Schools Question. The Bilingual Clause of 1897, or the Laurier-Greenway Compromise as it was called, stipulated that wherever there were ten school children of a language other than English, their mother tongue could be taught along with English. It was this provision that permitted both the French and German speaking residents in Manitoba to conduct their school in their own languages.

When this provision was applied to the large number of Eastern European immigrant communities in Manitoba it produced a great number of schools in which English was the second language. This polyglot of languages in the schools produced fears among Anglophone Manitobans that these new immigrants were not being Canadianized and gave the appearance that these schools were not performing their function. These fears would lead to new school laws.

While Rhineland's population did not grow between 1900 and 1914, migration in fact continued right up to World War I, the arrival of

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