- Sir John A. Macdonald
- The Private Man
- The Making of a Pragmatic Conservative
- The British Connection
- The American Civil War and Lessons Learned
- Macdonald and Confederation
- Western Expansion, Religion, and Politics
- The National Policy
- Macdonald and Indigenous Peoples
- The Conservative Hold on Power
- Macdonald in History
The Election of 1891
In 1891 Sir John A. MACDONALD fought his last election. He defended the National Policy and the British connection, and stressed the importance of resisting American influence in Canada. The Conservatives ran against a Liberal Party rejuvenated by its new leader, Wilfrid LAURIER. The election proved to be a contest between two competing visions of Canada’s future, as described in the biography of Ontario Liberal mp Sir Richard John CARTWRIGHT:
“In the election of 1891 the Conservatives tied the National Policy to loyalty to the empire and depicted the Liberals as the party which would bring annexation to the United States in through the back door of commercial union. Cartwright and another prominent Liberal, John Charlton*, vigorously championed the virtues of unrestricted reciprocity, especially among Ontario farmers. Their campaign helped the Liberals wrest seven seats from the Conservatives in Ontario and gain a majority of seats in central Canada. But Macdonald won the election.”
The gruelling campaign enervated Macdonald, and he suffered the first of two strokes soon after parliament returned. On 6 June 1891, he died. The long political struggles of Sir John A. Macdonald were over, and were passed to his Conservative and Liberal successors.
To find out more about Macdonald’s last election, please read these biographies.