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People

Sir John Alexander Macdonald

Sir John A. Macdonald

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Sir John A. Macdonald

Macdonald was born on January 10 or 11, 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland. When he was five years old his family moved to Kingston in Upper Canada. When he was fifteen he began to study law, and by the time he was nineteen he had opened his own law office in Kingston. He quickly got a reputation for taking hard cases, and for being a skilful lawyer. Macdonald soon started his political career as a councillor for Kingston in 1843. Four years later he moved to provincial politics when he was elected as the Conservative party's member for Kingston in 1847.

As a member of the Conservatives, Macdonald managed to unite French and English politicians. This allowed the new Liberal-Conservative party to form the government; after the leader of the party retired in 1856 Macdonald became co-prime minister of the Province of Canada.

In order to deal with the Province of Canada's economic and political problems, a group of politicians led by Macdonald came up with the idea of joining with the Maritime colonies to form a larger country. Macdonald was a driving force behind Confederation, and it was because of the important part that he played that he was asked to be Canada's first prime minister. He remained prime minister for most of the rest of his life. He died on June 6, 1891, soon after winning his fourth election.

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