Independent Investigation – DoL #2

Inquiry question: How does Elisabeth Aubert’s story give us a deeper understanding of New France?”

A: Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary and secondary sources.

When diving into this inquiry, it’s important to remember that Elisabeth Aubert was one of the Filles du Roi women, meaning that her story could be very similar to the other women being brought to New France. The Filles du Roi women were the first French women to settle in New France, and they were sent there in order to populate New France and outnumber Britain. Elisabeth Aubert’s story shows us how women were treated and viewed in the mid-1600s, particularly in France and New France. Of approximately 800 Filles du Roi women, only a few have had their story passed down through generations, Elisabeth Aubert’s being one. In the mid-1600s, women weren’t needed for much more than reproduction, giving a reason as to why many women were not given a chance to tell their stories.





Continuity and Change: How are our lives and conditions similar to those found in your research? How have they changed?

fullsizeoutput_176In the 1600s, France and New France were both completely Roman Catholic, and marrying outside of one’s religion was absolutely unthinkable. In modern times, this can still be the case in some cultures and beliefs. Depending on the culture or beliefs of a family, interfaith marriage can mean terrible consequences. However; as time has past and our world has become more social, interfaith marriage has been more widely accepted, even in some typically strict religions.
Secondly, in mid-1600s New France, women (like Elisabeth Aubert) were given the choice to who they wanted to marry. Elisabeth was not given much time or options, but she was never forced to marry immediately. To this day, the Roman Catholic religion does not enforce arranged marriages, rather, they only occur when it’s a family’s wish.

Is what happened right and fair by the values and standards of the time? How about from our current values and standards?

Elisabeth’s life in France was dark and lonely, as she was a young, orphaned woman without a family to lean back on. She was sent to New France with a mission to marry a man and grow a large family, in order to help grow New France’s population. Elizabeth was forced into this with no say, but this seemed “fair” at the time. Timages-minhe Filles du Roi were given resources such as money and clothing (such as a coiffe), and this seemed like a fair exchange at the time.
As mentioned earlier, a woman’s value in the 1600s (and for longer) was based on her fertility, rather than her beliefs and ideas (like in current times). As long as Elisabeth fulfilled her mission, she was seen as “worth” the resources and time, which was a common norm amongst many women in New France. In our current times, forcing a woman (or anyone for that matter) to move across the globe and start a family, seems unethical and inhumane.

What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?

As mentioned earlier, Elisabeth Aubert was one of many women who was shipped to New France against her will, to begin a new life. This shows New France’s determination to grow their population and their competitiveness against Britain. The Filles du Roi were sent to New France with very little resources, little knowledge, but with nothing to lose. France’s determination influenced them to use the most vulnerable women, knowing that their voices would not be heard or at least considered. This seemed smart and ethical at the time, but one story (like Elisabeths’s) can show a lot of backstory in the future.




3 thoughts on “Independent Investigation – DoL #2

  1. Nicole, this is a very intriguing topic to me, and you presented in a way which made it even more so. I like that you looked at this using ethical judgement, from now versus the 1600’s, and recognized your own bias. I also like that you looked at this issue from an eye separate from that of the video which we watched in class. The video made it sound like these women were ecstatic to be there, but they sort of left out the treatment that the women received. It’s interesting how much I have realized in the past few days, to the extent which Canadian history has been neglected and ignored. Many parts of history are forgotten, such as the Battle of the Plains of Abraham which I studied, or the poor women who were shipped across the world for business purposes (filles du roi). Both events were shaping in history, because they were disguised as new opportunities. The women who you studied, including Elisabeth, were given the chance to travel to new France. From what I understand, they saw it as a new opportunity, and were excited. However, underneath the excitement was fear, which was well worth the thought. The women were treated unfairly, to an unimaginable extent in today’s world. The same occurred with the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. People were excited to live in New France, a world full of opportunities. Little did the British know how many would have to die in the process, nor that their leader, James Wolfe himself would come to pass.

    This is a very insightful post. Good job!


  2. Your DOL points out many ethical considerations and differences between the past and the present. It also reflects on how religious values have changed, which is really interesting. One connection that I can make to my own DOL is how the French were very desperate to obtain new land, and that the means were often very skewed.

  3. ★ i enjoyed how much empathy was written into this post, clearly outlined emotion felt for Aubert’s story.
    ★ your explanations feature a lot of personal connections in light of historical and current context, which help to better influence the reader,
    ✦ the awesome strategy of the fille du roi has a dark side, the same way my inquiry into the CPR had both elements. I connected to the unspoken brilliance of a cutthroat manoeuvre.

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