Lawson focuses attention not only on the changing nature of British imperial governance in the age of the American Revolution but also on the significant new developments taking place in Britain at the time. Quebec played a pivotal role in the shift away from the rigid principles of Protestant political exclusionism by challenging the fundamental tenets of English constitutional order. The attempt to bring English law, religion, and custom to Quebec forced the State to revise its whole approach to the existing political and religious problems of the day. In forming his argument, Lawson has made use of material which has recently come to light.
The conquest of Quebec and peace-making, 1759-63; policy and mythology, 1763-64; a troublesome task - the first year of civil government in Quebec; the true spirit of a lawful sovereign - the Rockingham ministry and Quebec, 1765-66; the lost years, 1766-70; the quiet Revolution, 1770-73; an elastic spirit in our constitution - differing British views on the passage of the Quebec Act in 1774.