Monday, May 21, 2012

A Look Into History: Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie was a Scottish-born Canadian who later became the 2nd Prime Minister of Canada. At an early age his father died, so young Mackenzie became a stone mason and moved to Canada for a better life. As a stonemason he built a reputation as a hard-working and honest man, and some of his buildings are still standing today.  

About as soon as he came to Canada he got into politics. After having a vocal voice in the newspaper, he was elected to Parliament in 1867 serving a constituency of the temperance movement who supported a prohibition on alcoholic drinks often viewing it as a terrible practice.

When the Pacific Scandal led to the downfall of the Conservative Government, Mackenzie and the Liberals won an election and he was made Prime Minister due to being the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. As Prime Minister he strove many reforms such as secret ballots, and the creation of a Supreme Court. However when the Panic of 1873 came about, the Liberal government failed to keep afloat during the financial crisis. They tried removing tariffs between Canada and the United States encouraging free trade between the two nations, but it failed to turn-around the economy. Because of that, the Conservatives under John A. MacDonald returned to power in a landslide election. Mackenzie remained a member of parliament afterwards until his death in 1892.