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Wilfrid Laurier Essay

1922 words - 8 pages

"Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things" (Jesse Jackson).Wilfrid Laurier was a great leader. He became Canada's first French-Canadian leader and the only Prime Minister to serve Canada for an unbroken 15 years. Laurier's life long devotion was to build a unified and tolerant Canada where people of all racial and cultural backgrounds could live together in peace and harmony (Cook and Belanger 150). His unique style of negotiation based on compromise and reconciliation set the pattern by which Canadians are well-known for today (Spigelman 4). This essay will demonstrate Wilfrid Laurier's upbringing that brought forth his leadership style, his contributions to Canada and the grand legacy he has left behind to Canadians. Laurier's effective leadership skills gave Canadians the most prosperous times of their lives in Canada (Spigelman 7).The long line of Laurier's settled in Canada since the 1670's (Spigelman 5). Henry Charles Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh generation Laurier, was born on November 20, 1841 in the quiet village of St.Lin, Quebec to Carolus Laurier and Marcelle Martineau (Spigelman 5). Wilfrid Laurier's parents originally instilled the first ideas of politics that shaped the vision he wanted for Canada. Carolus Laurier opposed the Church's dominant power over the people for he strongly believed that people should be given the freedom to think for themselves (Moir). This attitude was passed on to his son as Laurier constantly fought the control that Roman Catholic bishops and priests held over the political lives of their parishioners throughout his career(Moir). Laurier's mother gave him his love for the French language while his father sent him to an English school in New Glasgow, Quebec to learn the English language and the British customs (Skelton). This gave Laurier the opportunity to grow up understanding both the French and English much better than just about anyone else at that time (Stewart 12). Laurier began to appreciate the true value of the two founding cultures of Canada and realize that people of different backgrounds could be generous to each other (Cook and Belanger 155). Furthermore, the young Laurie intelligently grasped the betterment of reconciliation over conflict when he deliberated that he had more success making love to the school girls than fighting with the boys (Stewart 12). During Laurier's education at the College de L'Assomption in Quebec, the strict priests of the school who glorified ultramontanism gave him even more confidence in his passion for politics and his hopes for liberalism (Spigelman 9). In addition, Laurier was born into a troubled and tumultuous time which he and his generation never forgot, the disastrous Rebellion of 1837 (Désilets). The stories of this period affected the young Laurier. He learned that British rule was not always benevolent and English Canadians were not always tolerant (Désilets). Laurier came to believe...

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