Alexander Mackenzie (politician)

Alexander Mackenzie, PC (January 28, 1822 – April 17, 1892) was a Scottish-Canadian politician who served as the second prime minister of Canada, in office from 1873 to 1878. Mackenzie was born in Logierait, Perthshire, Scotland. He left school at the age of 13, following his father's death to help his widowed mother, and trained as a stonemason. Mackenzie immigrated to Canada when he was 19, settling in what became Ontario. His masonry business prospered, allowing him to pursue other interests – such as the editorship of a pro-Reformist of a newspaper called the Lambton Shield. Mackenzie was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1861, as a supporter of George Brown. In 1867, Mackenzie was elected to the new House of Commons of Canada for the Liberal Party. He became leader of the party (thus Leader of the Opposition) in mid-1873, and a few months later succeeded John A. Macdonald as prime minister, following Macdonald's resignation in the aftermath of the Pacific Scandal. Mackenzie and the Liberals won a clear majority at the 1874 election. He was popular among the general public for his humble background and apparent democratic tendencies. As prime minister, Mackenzie continued the nation-building programme that had been begun by his predecessor. His government established the Supreme Court of Canada and Royal Military College of Canada, and created the District of Keewatin to better administer Canada's newly acquired western territories. However, it made little progress on the transcontinental railway, and struggled to deal with the aftermath of the Panic of 1873. At the 1878 election, Mackenzie's government suffered a landslide defeat. He remained leader of the Liberal Party for another two years, and continued on as a member of parliament until his death, due to a stroke.


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