Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2


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Macdonald remained in Opposition until the election of , after which he was involved in the creation of a new political alliance, the Liberal-Conservative Party. This new party brought together the Conservatives with an already existing alliance between Upper Canadian Reformers and the French Canadian majority political bloc, the Bleus. Once returned to office, Macdonald assumed the prestigious post of attorney general of Upper Canada. During the years —64 Macdonald faced growing opposition in Canada West formerly Upper Canada to the political union with Canada East formerly Lower Canada ; in the Province of Canada had been created, uniting the two colonies under one parliament.

By the political and sectional forces in the province were deadlocked, and Macdonald reluctantly accepted Brown's proposal for a new coalition of Conservatives, Clear Grits , and Bleus, who would work together for constitutional change.

While conceding the necessity of a federal arrangement to accommodate strong racial, religious and regional differences, Macdonald's preference was for a strong, highly centralized, unitary form of government. Macdonald took a leading role in the drafting of a federal system in which the central government held unmistakable dominance over the provincial governments. His great constitutional expertise, ability and knowledge were quickly recognized by the imperial government. During his first administration —73, Macdonald became a "nation builder.

These undertakings involved unprecedented expenditures of public funds and did not proceed without incident. Manitoba entered the union following an insurrection led by Louis Riel against the takeover of the area by the Dominion government, thereby forcing Macdonald's government to grant provincial status much sooner than had been intended and to accept a system of separate schools and the equality of the French and English languages.

What makes a great PM? Sir John A. Macdonald biographer weighs in - The Globe and Mail

Macdonald's involvement in the negotiations for a contract to build the Canadian Pacific Railway to British Columbia involved him eventually in the Pacific Scandal. During the election large campaign contributions had been made to him and his colleagues by Sir Hugh Allan , who was to have headed the railway syndicate.

Macdonald claimed that his "hands were clean" because he had not profited personally from his association with Allan, but his government was forced to resign in late and in the election of was defeated.

Some of these political problems stemmed from the fact that he, like many of his contemporaries, was at times a heavy drinker. By his own admission, Macdonald could not recall periods of time during the election and the negotiations with Allan. His drinking subsequently became more moderate.

The Canadian Historical Review

Fortunately for Macdonald his defeat in coincided with the onset of a business depression in Canada, which gave the Liberal administration of Alexander Mackenzie a reputation for being ineffectual. He remained prime minister for the rest of his life. The promised changes in tariff policy were introduced in and frequently revised in close collaboration with leading manufacturers; this became the basis for Macdonald's National Policy , a system which protected Canadian manufacturing through the imposition of high tariffs on foreign imports, especially from the United States.

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Appealing to Canadian nationalist and anti-American sentiment, it became a permanent feature of Canadian economic and political life. However, the economy as a whole continued to suffer slow growth, and the effects of the policy were uneven. The great national project of Macdonald's second administration was the completion of the transcontinental CPR, an extremely difficult and expensive undertaking that required extensive government subsidization.

Macdonald played a central role in making the railway a reality. Its completion in November made possible the future settlement of the West see Canadian Pacific Railway. The physical linking of the Canadian community was accompanied by the first steps towards eventual autonomy in world affairs. Macdonald did not foresee Canadian independence from Britain but rather a partnership with the mother country. Yet during his time in office Canada moved closer to independence.

Macdonald himself represented Canada on the British commission that negotiated the Treaty of Washington of The last stage of Macdonald's public career was plagued by difficulties. In addition, Ontario Premier Oliver Mowat launched a series of successful legal challenges to the powers of the central government, resulting in a federal system that was much less centralized than Macdonald had intended. The federal power of disallowance , which enabled the federal Cabinet to cancel provincial legislation, had been freely used during the early days of the Dominion, but was virtually abandoned by the end of the 19th century due to provincial opposition.

Macdonald's contribution to the development of the Canadian nation far exceeded that of any of his contemporaries, yet he was not by nature an innovator. Confederation , the CPR, and the protective tariff were not his ideas, but he was brilliant and tenacious in achieving his goals once convinced of their necessity. As a politician he early developed shrewdness and ingenuity. He kept a remarkable degree of personal control over the functioning of the Conservative party and was adept in using patronage for political advantage. He was a highly partisan politician, partly because he genuinely believed it was essential to maintain certain political courses.

He was particularly concerned with maintaining the British connection to Canada — including the tradition of parliamentary supremacy — against the threat of American economic and political influences, such as the doctrine of constitutional supremacy. Macdonald was an Anglophile, but he also became a Canadian nationalist who had great faith in the future of Canada. His overriding national preoccupations were unity and prosperity.

An speech summed up his lifelong political creed and political goals: "One people, great in territory, great in resources, great in enterprise, great in credit, great in capital. He was charming and personable, and wonderful company. Despite his heavy drinking — an inebriated Macdonald had to be carried from the House of Commons on more than one occasion — he was beloved by many. This included women, who appear to have found him extremely charming and would likely have appreciated his proposal that unmarried women be granted the vote.

Bengough in the weekly satirical magazine Grip , he jumped right off the page into the consciousness of readers.

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In an era when shrub-sized beards were the style, he was always clean-shaven; he wore attention-getting clothes, such as bright red cravats and trousers with large checks. As time went by—the influence of a chatelaine, no doubt—he more often wore grey trousers and a matching Prince Albert jacket, although still with a red cravat. But that mass of hair and glorious nose ensured that almost everyone knew him at once. In the House of Commons, he typically reacted to some assault on his policies or his morals with a quip, the best of which made his outraged opponent laugh at himself.

He accepted himself for the bad as well as the good, never apologizing for his drinking or for his procrastination in making decisions. He understood women well and enjoyed their company, even though, lacking the vote, they were of no consequence politically.

His first cabinet included three Liberal front-benchers, lured there to sustain the illusion he was leading a Liberal-Conservative coalition. If only I could trust you. Scarcely any of them ever turned away from him, mesmerized by his charm and the hours he spent in the Commons listening to the incoherent addresses of backbenchers and then praising them lavishly.

He distributed patronage plums, either directly to his supporters or to others they wished to please. As for ordinary Canadians, they, according to the journalist M. Through the meal they chattered amicably, but before any business could be done, Macdonald slipped away. After Confederation, he gained another asset. People wrote to him not just to ask for patronage or to complain about some policy, but also to tell him their personal concerns.


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Many thanks for the information. I shall cause immediate inquiries to be made. He was both their leader and their friend. His schooling had ended at sixteen, but he never stopped learning. He dropped lines from Shakespeare, Milton, Sheridan, Trollope and Dickens into his speeches, not to impress but to illuminate an idea or advance an argument. He drank far too much, regularly going on prolonged benders.

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John A. : the man who made us : the life and times of John A. Macdonald

Besides cold beef and mutton, sherry, port and whisky were all available in the cabinet room, and at reduced prices. Macdonald also had a quick temper. On one occasion he suffered a defeat in the Commons after he ruined a make-up meeting with a key, wavering MP by showering him with abuse over past wrongs. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description Random House Canada. Condition: new. Seller Inventory think More information about this seller Contact this seller. Condition: New.


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Seller Inventory NEW Book Description Random House Canada, Never used!. Seller Inventory P As the first prime minister of Canada, he oversaw the expansion of the Dominion from sea to sea. His government dominated politics for a half century and set policy goals for future generations of political leaders. Macdonald's personal papers provide insight into his life, but his exact birth date remains a mystery. His father's journal lists 11 January as Macdonald's birth date and his family celebrated his birthday on 11 January.

However, a certified extract from the registration of his birth cites 10 January. As his father opened a series of businesses in the area, Macdonald grew up in Kingston, and in the nearby Lennox, Addington, and Prince Edward counties. Macdonald attended the Midland District Grammar School, as well as a private school in Kingston, where he was educated in rhetoric, Latin, Greek, grammar, arithmetic and geography.

At age 15 Macdonald began to article with a prominent Kingston lawyer. Both at school and as an articling student, he showed promise. At 17 he managed a branch legal office in Napanee by himself, and at 19 opened his own office in Kingston, two years before being called to the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Macdonald's early professional career coincided with the rebellion in Upper Canada and subsequent border raids from the US.

Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2 Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2
Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2 Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2
Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2 Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2
Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2 Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2
Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2 Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2
Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2 Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2
Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2 Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times: 2

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