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 Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie

Birth
Logierait, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
Death 17 Apr 1892 (aged 70)
Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial Sarnia, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada
Memorial ID 2552 · View Source
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2nd Prime Minister of Canada. He served in this capacity from 1873 to 1878. Born the third of ten children in Logierait, Scotland, his father died when he was 13 years old and he was forced to end his formal education and secure work in order to help support the family. He apprenticed as a stonemason at the age of 16 and four years later he had reached journeyman status in this field. In 1842 he emigrated to Canada to seek a better life and to follow his sweetheart, Helen Neil, whom he later married. He continued his career as a stonemason and soon immersed himself into politics. He campaigned tirelessly in the 1851 election for George Brown, the owner of the Reformist paper "The Globe," enabling him to win a seat in the assembly. In 1852 he became editor of another reformist paper, the "Lambton Shield." As editor, he sometimes became too vocal, leading the paper to being sued for libel against the local conservative candidate. The paper lost the suit and was forced to fold due to financial hardship. In 1861 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a supporter of George Brown. When Prime Minister John A. MacDonald's Conservative government fell due to the Canadian Pacific Railroad Scandal in 1873, the Governor General, Lord Dufferin, called upon Mackenzie, who had been chosen as the leader of the Liberal Party a few months earlier, to form a new government. He formed a government and asked the Governor General to call an election for January 1874. The Liberal party won, and Mackenzie remained prime minister until the 1878 election when Macdonald's Conservatives returned to power with a majority government. As Prime Minister, he strove to reform and simplify the government bureaucracy. He introduced the secret ballot, advised on the creation of the Supreme Court of Canada, the establishment of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario in 1874, the creation of the Office of the Auditor General in 1878, and struggled to continue progress on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). However, his term was marked by economic depression that had grown out of the Panic of 1873, which his government was unable to alleviate. In 1874 he negotiated a new free trade agreement with the US, eliminating the high protective tariffs on Canadian goods in US markets. However, this action did not bolster the economy, and construction of the CPR slowed drastically due to lack of funding. After his government's defeat, he remained Leader of the Opposition until 1880. In keeping with his democratic ideals, he refused the offer of a knighthood three times, and was the only one of Canada's first eight Prime Ministers not to be knighted. He remained a member of parliament until his death in 1892 at the age of 70 from a stroke that resulted from hitting his head during a fall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A statute dedicated to his honor resides on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Mackenzie Mountain Range in the Yukon & Northwest Territories are named in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2552
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Alexander Mackenzie (28 Jan 1822–17 Apr 1892), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2552, citing Lakeview Cemetery, Sarnia, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .