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  1. Macdonald was elected in Kingston by 1,189 votes to 9 for John Shaw; other Conservatives, however, did badly in Canada West, and only French-Canadian support kept Macdonald in power. On December 28, Isabella Macdonald died, leaving John a widower with a seven-year-old son.

    • Early Life and Education
    • Early Career
    • Legal Career and Business Interests
    • Personal Life
    • Door to Politics Opens
    • Premier of The Province of Canada
    • Macdonald and Confederation
    • The Nation Builder
    • The Pacific Scandal
    • Return to Power

    Macdonald's personal papers provide insight into his life, but his exact birth date remains a mystery. His father's journal lists 11 January 1815 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. Macdonald was brought to Kingston, Upper Canada, by his parents, Hugh Macdonald and Helen Shaw, when he was five years old. 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 Napaneeby 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 Canadaand subsequent border raids from the US. He was in Toronto in December 1837 where, as a militia private, he took part in the attack on the rebels at Montgomery's Tavern. In 1838 he attracted public notice by defending accused rebels, including Nils von Schoultz, leader of an attack on Prescott.

    Macdonald practised law for the rest of his life with a series of partners, first in Kingston (until 1874) and then in Toronto. His firm engaged primarily in commercial law; his most valued clients were established businessmen or corporations. He was also personally involved in a variety of business concerns. He began to deal in real estate in the 1840s, acquired land in many parts of the province — including commercial rental property in downtown Toronto — and was appointed director of many companies (which were located mainly in Kingston). For 25 years (including the years when he was prime minister), he was president of a Québec Cityfirm — the St Lawrence Warehouse, Dock and Wharfage Co — and in 1887 he became the first president of the Manufacturers Life Insurance Co of Toronto.

    Macdonald's personal life was marked by a number of misfortunes. His first wife, his cousin Isabella Clark, was an invalid during most of their married life and died in 1857. His first son died at the age of 13 months, while a second son, Hugh John (born in 1850) survived. In 1867, Macdonald married Susan Agnes Bernard, who gave birth in 1869 to a daughter, Mary. Sadly, Mary was afflicted with hydrocephalus and never walked, although she lived to 1933.

    Macdonald entered politics at the municipal level, serving as alderman in Kingston 1843–46. He took an increasingly active part in Conservative politics and in 1844 (at age 29) was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada to represent Kingston. Parties and government were in a state of transition; a modern departmental structure had begun to evolve, but the British government had not yet agreed to responsible governmentin British North America, and the role of the Governor General was still prominent. In this context Macdonald's political views proved cautious; he defended the imperial prerogative and state support of denominational education, and opposed the abolition of primogeniture (which stipulated that when a property owner died without leaving a will, his eldest son would inherit everything). Above all, he emerged as a shrewd political tactician who believed in the pursuit of practical goals by practical means. His obvious intelligence and ability brought...

    Once returned to office, Macdonald assumed the prestigious post of attorney general of Upper Canada. On the retirement of Conservative leader Sir Allan Macnab (which he helped to engineer in 1856), Macdonald succeeded him as joint-premier of the Province of Canada, along with Étienne-Paschal Taché (and then with George-Étienne Cartier 1857–62, with the exception of the two-day Brown–Dorion administration in 1858).

    During the years 1854–64 Macdonald faced growing opposition in Canada West (formerly Upper Canada) to the political union with Canada East (formerly Lower Canada); in 1841 the Province of Canada had been created, uniting the two colonies under one parliament. The Reform view, voiced by George Brown of the Toronto Globe, complained that the legitimate needs and aspirations of Canada West were frustrated by the "domination" of French Canadian influence in the government of Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier. By 1864 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. Macdonald and the coalition played a key role in the Confederation of British North America in 1867, which brought together four new provinces (Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia) to form the Dominion of Canada. While conceding t...

    During his first administration 1867–73, Macdonald became a "nation builder." In this period Manitoba, the North-West Territories (present-day Saskatchewan and Alberta), British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island joined the original four provinces of Confederation. The Intercolonial Railway between Québec City and Halifax was begun and plans were made for a transcontinental railway to the Pacific coast. These undertakings involved unprecedented expenditures of public funds and did not proceed without incident. Manitoba entered the union following an insurrection led by Louis Rielagainst 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.

    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 1872 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 1873 and in the election of 1874 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 1872 election and the negotiations with Allan. His drinking subsequently became more moderate.

    Fortunately for Macdonald his defeat in 1874 coincided with the onset of a business depression in Canada, which gave the Liberal administration of Alexander Mackenziea reputation for being ineffectual. In 1876, at the instigation of a group of Montréal manufacturers, Macdonald began to advocate a policy of "readjustment" of the tariff — a policy that helped him return triumphantly to power in 1878. He remained prime minister for the rest of his life.

  2. John Alexander Macdonald nació el 11 de enero de 1815 en Glasgow ( Escocia ). Sus padres fueron Hugh Macdonald, un comerciante fracasado, y su esposa, Helen Shaw. Su familia emigró a Kingston (Alto Canadá) en 1820. El negocio de Hugh comenzó a repuntar en Canadá, lo que permitió que el joven John pudiera asistir a las mejores escuelas de ...

  3. John A. Macdonald Could there have been a Canada without John A.? A larger-than-life figure of great vision, leadership, and eccentricity, Canada’s first leader and “founding father” did more than any other to forge the existence of the modern Canadian nation.

  4. John Alexander Macdonald was born on January 10, 1815, in Ramshorn parish in Glasgow, Scotland. He was the third of five children that Hugh Macdonald and Helen Shaw had. In 1820, his family moved to Kingston in Canada after his father's business ventures incurred heavy losses. Later, in 1829, his father was elected as a magistrate for the ...

  5. 07/01/2022 · Sir John Macdonald, the first prime minister of the Dominion of Canada (1867–73, 1878–91), who led Canada through its period of early growth. Though accused of devious and unscrupulous methods, he is remembered for his achievements.

  6. 28/08/2018 · Sir John A. Macdonald pictured in old age, when he implemented all the most damaging policies against Canadian Indigenous. Photo by File Article content

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