Sir John Alexander Macdonald

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Sir John Alexander Macdonald

Sir John Alexander Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland on January 11th, 1815. He emigrated to Canada with his parents when he was five years old. In 1820, he moved to Kingston to attend Midland District Grammar School. His formal schooling ended when he was fifteen. In 1835, he returned to Kingston and even though he wasn’t the right age or qualified, he began his practice as a lawyer. He married Isabella Clark in 1843 but she died in 1857 because of illness. Then he married Susan Bernard in 1867. In 1843 he served as a city alderman. The following year, he was elected Conservative representative for Kingston in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. In 1854 he helped create the Liberal-Conservative party. Throughout the 1860s' he worked to support the Confederation movement. When the Province of Canada showed interest in Confederation, a conference was held in Charlottetown on September 1, 1864. Macdonald played a leading role in promoting Confederation. He even made an alliance with his political rival and Opposition leader, George Brown. He made the British North America Act, by which the four provinces were united on July 1, 1867. Macdonald was elected Prime Minister of Canada and won the federal election the next month. His first goal was to build a nation. As communication was essential between provinces, he started construction on the Transcontinental Railway. It would run from Halifax to the Pacific coast and include Canada's two new provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. He also brought in a system of tariffs. This was to protect Canadian products from foreign imports, especially those from the United States, in order to boost economic growth. Dealings between the Conservatives and the railway syndicate led to the Pacific Scandal in 1873. Macdonald and the conservative party were forced to resign. They lost the election in 1874 but they regained power in 1878. How Macdonald handled the Northwest Rebellion in 1885 and the execution of Louis Riel outraged French-Canadians, sparking a rivalry between them and English-Canadians -- this would continue for years. Macdonald died on June 6th,1891.


1815- Born in Glasgow, Scotland on January 111820- Moved to Kingston, Ontario1856- Becomes Premier of Canada West and names first Cabinet1867- Confederation was formed1867- Elected first prime minister 1873- Pacific Scandal causes fall of government1879- The National Policy implemented to protect Central and Atlantic Canada’s manufacturing and processing industries1885- Riel Rebellion results in hanging of Louis Riel 1891- Macdonald dies on June 6 at the age of 76

- Helped bring the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick together in 1867 to form Canada. - Then he brought British Columbia, PEI, and the great North West Territories into the Canada. - His main accomplishments as Prime Minister of Canada also include the building of the Trans-Canadian railroad. -Stopped U.S. expansion- Formed and led the Conservative Party for over 20 years. This party is still around, albeit in a different form. -Went to England and argued for the passing of the British North America Act of 1867. -Believed in, and fought for a bilingual parliament.


Textbook: Canada the story of a devolping nationAuthors: Elspeth Deir, John FeildingPublisher: Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson LimitedCountry: CanadaYear:2000Textbook: Canada Revisisted 8Authors: Phylrs A. Arnold, Penny Clark, Ken WesterlundPublsiher: Arnold Publishng LTD.Country: CanadaYear: 2000Website: www.colletionscanada.gc.caDate created: 2001-04-23Updated: 2002-01-29



Sir John Alexander Macdonald


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