The main purpose of the paper is to explain the divergent paths of development of ethno-territorial protest movements in modern democratic political systems. By focusing on the interaction between these movements and the state, the different systems of accommodation between the relevant regional and central elites will be analyzed. The study concentrates on the case studies of Québec (Canada) and Corsica (France). The paper is divided into three parts. The first part describes the traditional systems of accommodation in France and Canada. The second part is focused on the process of socio-economic modernization in the 1950s and 1960s in those countries that threatened the established patterns of elite accommodation. The third part deals with the consequences for the established patterns of elite-accommodation and new concepts of territorial management that the central states tried to establish. By looking at the different degrees of centralization and decentralization in the mentioned political systems, the question of access to the political system by new social and political actors will be discussed in detail.