John Alexander Macdonald
Macdonald, John Alexander
Born Jan. 11, 1815, in Glasgow, Scotland; died June 6, 1891, in Ottawa. Canadian political leader. He came to Canada with his parents in 1820. A lawyer.
Macdonald was one of the organizers of the Conservative Party (1854). He was active in the movement to unify the British colonies in North America into the Dominion of Canada. Macdonald became the first prime minister of Canada (1867-73); he also occupied this post during the years 1878-91. Representing the interests of Anglo-Canadian capital, the Macdonald government advocated the strengthening of imperial ties, in order to counteract the attempts of the USA to swallow up Canada. In 1879, Macdonald proclaimed the National Policy, the most important elements of which were a transition to protectionism and the construction through government subsidies of a transcontinental railroad (which was built between 1881 and 1885).