John Sandfield Macdonald

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John Sandfield Macdonald
JS Macdonald's signature

John Sandfield Macdonald , QC (born December 12, 1812 in St Raphael West, Glengarry County , Upper Canada , †  June 1, 1872 in Cornwall , Ontario ) was a Canadian politician . He was the first Prime Minister of the Province of Ontario from July 15, 1867 to December 20, 1871. In addition, he was a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1867 until his death and was chairman of the Conservative Party of Ontario . He had previously served in the Canadian Parliament for 16 years and was co-head of government of that British colony from 1862 to 1864.


The son of Scottish immigrants worked as a salesman in a general store for several years after leaving school. From 1832 to 1835 he studied law, in 1840 he was admitted to the bar and opened a law firm in Cornwall . In the same year in New York City he married Marie Christine Waggaman, the daughter of George Augustus Waggaman , a former senator of the US state Louisiana . In 1841 influential conservatives persuaded him to run for a seat in the Canada's lower house .

Macdonald was elected by a large margin and was a member of the parliament of this British colony without interruption until its dissolution in 1867. From 1849 to 1852 he was a member of Robert Baldwin's cabinet and was Deputy Minister of Justice of Upper Canada. From May 24, 1862 he officiated as co-head of government of the province of Canada, initially together with Louis-Victor Sicotte , from May 15, 1863 to May 30, 1864 with Antoine-Aimé Dorion . Initially, Macdonald was an opponent of the Canadian Confederation , but accepted it as ultimately inevitable and became an ally of John Macdonald , the first Prime Minister of the new Canadian state.

With the support of his namesake, Macdonald was named the first prime minister of the new province of Ontario on July 15, 1867 . Five days later, he was elected to the Canadian lower house (back then, double mandates were still allowed at provincial and federal level). The first election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in September 1867 resulted in a stalemate, so that Conservatives and Liberals formed a coalition government under Macdonald's leadership. Her focus was on expanding the infrastructure and reorganizing the education system.

On December 20, 1871, the government was overthrown by a vote of no confidence. Macdonald became seriously ill and died of heart failure five months later. He remained Ontario's only Catholic head of government for the next 132 years, until Dalton McGuinty was elected in 2003. His younger brother Donald Alexander Macdonald was also a member of the House of Commons.

Web links

Commons : John Sandfield Macdonald  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files