Sir John A. Macdonald

The First Primeminister

Background/Early Life

John A. MacDonald was born January 11th, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland. He died in Ottawa on June 6th, 1891. John's birth date actually remains a mystery, it is not justified if he was born the 10th or 11th of January. His father has written that he was born on the 11th in his journal, but a writing passage from registration states the 10th of January. John A. MacDonald's parents soon brought him to Upper Canada when he was five or six years of age. MacDonald's father worked at many businesses. John grew up in Kingston, Addington, in the nearby Lennox and the Prince Edward countries. John was admitted in to a private school, where he learned Latin, Greek, and many other subjects/languages. Below you can see a picture of John A. Macdonald's birth certificate.
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Career

Madonald had an overall successful career. He joined the Canadian parliament in 1843. Madonald was practicing law for most of his life. He was very active with conservative politics in 1844 and was elected in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, representing Kingston. Some time after, he became the Premier of the Province of Canada. With much hard work, he eventually became the very first prime minister of Canada, making him a very important part of Canada's development. He helped join the Canadian provinces of Upper and lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 1867 to form Canada. As well, he brought Prince Edward Island, N.W Territories and British Columbia in Confederation. Another thing John A. Macdonald did during his career was help with the building of the Trans-Canada railroad. Macdonald was very passionate for politics, even though he had lost some campaigns and elections in his career, he did not give up. By 1891, had his last campaign and won majority for conservatives.
Sir John A. Macdonald

Personal Life

John A. Macdonald had quite the rough time when it came to his family. His first wife, which was his cousin, died in 1857. His son died at 13 months of age. He had another son in 1850 and survived. Macdonald was known as a drunk. Since he had so many problems in his life, he used to reach towards alcohol to try to forget his personal problems. In 1867, Macdonald married a woman named Susan Bernard. They had a child in 1869, a daughter, named Mary. Unfortunately, Mary got hydrocephalus and wasn't able to walk. She lived till 1933. Below you can see a picture of Mary.
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Challenges

Macdonald had ran into a lot of obstacles as well during his career. When he was the superintendent of Indian Affairs, the North West Resistance occurred. The execution of Louis Riel had cost Macdonald political support in Quebec. He didn't have as many supporters during this time. Also, with Riel's death many arguments occured between the French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians. Macdonald also had to face a series of legal challenges issued by the Ontario Premier, Oliver Mowat. Since, many saw him as a man who was always drunk, he had to face a lot of controversy.

Legacy

Macdonald has done a lot of things for Canada. He brought many provinces together such as; Upper and lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1867. Later on, he brought British Columbia, PEI and the North West Territories. He as well helped build the Trans- Canada Railway. Macdonald handled relations with the United States, rising the challenge of the North West Rebellion. He balanced the French and English interests to make sure everyone had a say. As you can see, Macdonald made a significant change to the Canadian Government. To add, of course he was our very first prime minister. Macdonald died on June 6th, 1981, Ottawa. He will forever be remembered by many Canadians.
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Fun Facts

- people thought Macdonald was nuts for adoring his daughter, since she was disabled

- first person to ever throw up in the house of commons

- gave first speech at age of six

- his sister said he was the "ugliest man of Canada!"

- he took leadership in every group he joined

- only Canadian prime minister to resign over a scandal

- his son served in North West Rebellion

- one of the first Canadians to be put on Canadian currency

- his opponents were never powerful enough to challenge him

Want to learn more?

Just some extra info if you want to learn more about John A. Macdonald!

The Life of Sir John A. MacDonald
Written by Rajveer Dhillon 8G