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Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

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The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

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The Making of a Pragmatic Conservative

The Young Macdonald

Raised in Kingston, Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), John A. MACDONALD received a “classical and general education” in the late 1820s. In 1830 he articled in the office of local lawyer George MACKENZIE. Five years later, at the age of 20, Macdonald opened his own firm. He was also involved in business, especially land development and speculation. In tandem with his legal career and his real-estate activities, Macdonald pursued a range of community interests:

“He was ambitious and looked for opportunities wherever he could find them. At age 19, in 1834, he became secretary of both the Prince Edward District Board of Education and the Hallowell Young Men’s Society. In Kingston he was recording secretary of the Celtic Society in 1836, president of the Young Men’s Society of Kingston in 1837, vice-president of the St Andrew’s Society in 1839, and a prominent member of the Presbyterian community. In March 1843, now well known as a lawyer, businessman, and public-spirited citizen, he was easily elected to the Kingston Town Council as an alderman.”

Please see the following biographies for more information on Macdonald’s early career.


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