Sir John Alexander Macdonald
Born: January 10, 1815
Died: June 6, 1891
Place of Birth: Brunswick Place, Scotland
John A. Macdonald was the dominant force in the creation of the Dominion of Canada.
His family moved to Kingston, Upper Canada, when he was only 5 years old.
Macdonald was academically gifted and, at age 15, he articled for a Kingston lawyer then opened his own office by 19.
He entered political life in 1843 when he was elected to be an alderman in the municipal council.
A year later, John A. Macdonald was elected to represent Kingston in the Conservative government for the United Province of Canada.
In 1848, an election changed the government and Macdonald gained political skills while sitting in the opposition.
Macdonald's law firm had continued success and Macdonald was making successful business contacts as well as acquiring properties.
In the period of around 1854-1864, John A. Macdonald was co-leader in a coalition government of Liberal-Conservatives.
During this time, Macdonald and a business partner, George-Etienne Cartier, were working to form a union of Upper and Lower Canada.
Macdonald suggested and worked for a new union including other provinces where there would be a centralized government.
His effort brought about a document known as the British North America Act which was signed by four provinces now known as
Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
He became the first Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada primarily because of the work he personally put into the process of Confederation.
His government took on the giant project of building a railway from Quebec to British Columbia; a project which helped bring
other provinces into Canada.
John A. Macdonald was Prime Minister from 1867-1873 and from 1878-1891.
For detailed research and more information, check out any of the following:
Sir John A. Macdonald Memorial Website
Library and Archives Canada
Kingston Historical Society
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Last Updated: January 8, 2017
© Canada-Heros/Don Jones 2003-2017