John A. Macdonald

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John A Macdonald

Sir John A. Macdonald (January 11, 1815 - June 6, 1891) was the first Prime Minister of Canada, one of the Fathers of Confederation and elected six times from the Conservative Party. During his administration Macdonald saw the country expand to include the provinces of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba. His policies opened the Canadian west to settlers and were instrumental in building the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and moved with his family to Canada when he was five years old. There he trained to be a lawyer and was called to the bar in 1836. From 1864 onwards Macdonald worked to form a united Canada, in part to end political deadlock, increase trade and end the uncertainty over the American Manifest Destiny. He was a delegate at the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences. Ultimately the British Government agreed and passed the British North American Act on July 1, 1867 creating Canada without bloodshed or major upset.

Macdonald became the first Prime Minister when the Conservative Party which he led, held the majority of seats in the Parliament following the first post-Confederation general election. He was re-elected in 1872, but during that parliament he was forced to resign because of the Pacific Scandal when his party was accused of giving contracts to a political contributor.

Macdonald was returned to power in 1878, and he served the country until his death in Ottawa.

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