Sir John Alexander Macdonald Essay

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Sir John Alexander Macdonald

The Man Who Helped Make Canada The Country It Is Today

Sir John A. Macdonald was one of Canada's founding fathers. He is most remembered as being Canada's first Prime Minister, running the government from July 1, 1867 until November 5, 1873. Macdonald would become Prime Minister once again on October 17, 1878 and would stay in this position until June 6,1891. While he was leader of the country he faced his own share of political obstacles, including Confederation, the Metis rebellion and threats of an American he is among the greatest leaders Canada has ever seen and played a significant part in the forming of Canada as a country.

John Alexander Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland on January 11, 1815. His family immigrated to Canada (Kingston, Ontario) in 1820, Macdonald was five years old at the time. In 1829 Macdonald ended his schooling, his parents could not afford to send him to university. Macdonald would later say that if he had went to university he would have ended up in literature, not politics. (Waite, John, 7-10)

In 1830 Upper Canada had no law schools, at that time if you wanted to be a lawyer you would learn what you needed to, by becoming a lawyer's apprentice. That is what Macdonald did, he became the apprentice of a lawyer named George Mackenzie. For four years Macdonald did on-the-job training until 1834 when Mackenzie died. At this time he returned to Kingston and opened his own law office, and a year later he was admitted to the bar. (Swainson, 16-18)

In 1842 Macdonald took a break from his responsibilities. He traveled to Scotland to visit his relatives, this would be a trip that would change his life forever. It was this time in Scotland that Macdonald met his cousin Isabella Clark, Macdonald?s future wife. The two got along really well, when Macdonald returned to Canada that summer, Isabella promised him she would visit him in Canada the following summer.

After Macdonald was back in Kingston, Ontario he entered active politics. Kingston was a conservative town, so when Macdonald entered politics he therefore joined the Conservative Party. In 1843 Macdonald was elected an alderman in Kingston, then in 1844 he won an election giving him a seat in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. The members of the Assembly quickly recognized Macdonald?s political abilities, resulting in him being made Receiver General in 1844 for the Conservative Government. This position gave him a seat on the Executive Council in the Province of Canada. The Conservative government of William Draper was defeated a year later so for the next few years Macdonald assisted in the rebuilding of the Conservative Party. ("Macdonald, Sir")

Macdonald felt the key to Canada?s success, as a country, would rely on its connection to its mother country, Britain. Macdonald showed these feelings in his first address to the electors:


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