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Sir John A. Macdonald
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Sir John A. Macdonald

Canada's First Prime Minister

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          John Macdonald was born on January 10th, 1815 near Glasgow, Scotland. He was the first Prime Minister of Canada and the only Prime Minister of Canada that wasn’t a born Canadian. Macdonald  had a major part in creating the nation, foundation, and governing in Canada’s first years of being a country. Macdonald was a man of great wit and charm.

 

When he was five years old he immigrated to Kingston (now known as Ontario), Canada with his parents. He went to school in Kingston then partnered with a Kingston lawyer. In 1835 when Macdonald was 20 years old opened his own law practice. This law practice earned him a reputation of flair and ingenuity in legal work. In 1840 he moved up to corporation law, becoming a solicitor for companies including the Commercial Bank of Midland District and Trust & Load Company of Upper Canada. This work helped build a basic income from that time on.

 

In 1844, at 29 years of age, Macdonald entered politics. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada as a Conseruative member. But he apposed innovations like Responsible Government. He was also against extending Canada’s franchise to allow more people to vote, He felt these things weakened authority in Canada’s government and society. But apposing these thing Macdonald was not blindly conservative.

 

In the 1850’s he was calling himself the Liberal-Conservative, which means that conservatism needed a creative, liberal leading edge that can adapt to new developments. Through 1854 to 1867 he was the Attorney General of West Canada. Except in 1857 and 1862 through 1864, because he was in opposition. Being the Attorney General was very hard work, Macdonald was in charge of supervising the whole legal and law enforcements of West Canada, this included judges, courts, and jails.

 

In the 1850’s Macdonald established a long standing alliance with the French Canadians, this was symbolized by his personal friendship with George-Étienne Cortier. The alliance with the French Canadians had huge advantages especially the advantage of being able to rally the French Canadian’s support for coalition government, which was done in the mid-1860’s.

 

In 1864 The Great Coalition toke place, three of four major political groups in Canada supported the Great Coalition. The goal of the Great Coalition was to unite Canada and other British North American colonies together and be reorganized as a confederation. Macdonald slowly accepted the Great Coalition, he usely puts thing like these off until he is forced to accept them. Once he put his hand in to Confederation he made it his own. Macdonald took the lead in the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences in 1864 and the London conference in 1866. Macdonald said privately to himself “there was no one eals who had any idea of constitution making, he had to do it all himself” (the previous quote is not said by John A. Macdonald, it is quoted from information site.) and to give Canada a federal system with a strong central government and executive. Today our Country owes much to Macdonald’s painstaking work at conferences.

 

          In the 1867 Confederation Macdonald gets elected as Canada’s Prime Minister and is awarded Knighthood becoming Sir John A. Macdonald. Wile in office Macdonald continued his mission of nation building. Between 1867 and 1873 he did many things. Though 1868 and 1869 he arranged better terms for Nova Scotia. In 1869 and 1870 he bought Hudson Bay’s Company territories and adding Montana and North West Territories to Canada. In 1871 he added Birtish Columbia to Canada. In 1873 Macdonald created the North West Territories mounted Police and brought Prince Edward Island into confederation. He also wanted New Found Land in confederation but this was stoped by the New Found Landers in election in 1869.
 
           Macdonald fell from parlament in 1873 as a result of the Pacific Scandl. The scandle revolved around large amounts of money that leading Conservotives got in compain funds from the Railway promoters during the 1872 elections.
 
          Macdonald anounced "These hands are clean" meaning no money givin to Conservotives went to Macdonalds pocket. Macdonald lost so much support in parlament that most of his government resigned around November 1873. Macdonald tryed to resign also but his wouldnt let him. He was guilted into staying.
 
        Macdonald returned to power during the 1878 elections till 1891. During this time he achieved National Policy and finished the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1879 he introduced the National Policy, the policy was to promote Canadian industry by taxing imported goods. The Canadian Pacific Railway, whick was boing built by a privite company, required government support, it was finished in Novemder 1885. Over time Macdonald became indispensoble to his party, his colleagues where getting old an where retiring. The railway was putting big drains on Cabinet's time and energy. Macdonald was trying hard to get new employes for Cabinet, but he was not fast enough, the North West rebellion which was between March and May in 1885. The rebellion was caused by the government neglecting their problems in the west.
 
            In Semptember 1885 Macdonald added John Tompson from Nova Scotia, George Foster from New Brunswick, and Thomas White from Ontario to parlament. Tompson soon after became Macdonald's most trusted adviser. In the spring of 1891 Macdonald had his last election, he was 76 years old by this time and the hard, bitter part of the election wore him out. John died later that year on June 6th.

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