Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie PC ( born January 28, 1822 in Logierait, Perthshire, Scotland, † April 17, 1892 in Toronto ) was a Canadian builder and politician. He was the second Prime Minister of the country and ruled on 7 November 1873 to 8 October 1878.


Mackenzie was born the third of ten children of Alexander Mackenzie and his wife Mary Stewart Flemming in the Scottish Logierait. His paternal great-grandfather, Donald Mackenzie, was born in Ross -shire. From there he moved to Perthshire and married Mackenzie's great-grandmother Margaret Ferguson. 1742 his grandfather Malcolm Mackenzie was born. This mill of Kincraigie and the corresponding Mühlrecht was transferred from John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl. In 1784 there finally Mackenzie's father to the world, who, after completing his training as a carpenter, first found work as a shipwright in Portsmouth. After the battle of Waterloo, the demand fell sharply after the war ships and he returned to his homeland, where he worked in construction. In 1817 he married Mary Stewart Flemming. Mackenzie's mother was the fourth of seven children of Donald Fleming and Jean Stewart. His maternal grandfather was a teacher and was active as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. His maternal grandmother was born into a prosperous family from Strathtay. There had his great-grandfather Adam Stewart, a regimental commander, two large estate. 1861 died Mary Stewart Flemming in Sarnia. The family moved in 1827 to Perth, then two years later to Pitlochry and settled finally in 1834 in Dunkeld down. There Mackenzie 's father died in 1836 at the age of 52 years. From Mackenzie's nine brothers and two died in infancy. Although his brother Hope trained as a doctor but never practiced. Rather, he took a job with the British East India Company and entered the Madras Presidency to some influence. 1841 while he was working in Irvine, he met his future wife, Helen Neil know the family. Helen's father and eldest brother were, as Mackenzie, stonemasons. She also had an older sister. Mackenzie was admitted as a member of the family of Neil's and 1842 when they decided to emigrate to Canada, he joined them. There he finally married on March 28, 1845 Helen, with whom he had two daughters and a son, of which only one daughter survived infancy. This later married the pastor of the Presbyterian congregation of Sarnia. After the death of his first wife on January 4, 1852 Mackenzie married on June 17, 1853 Jane Sym, the eldest daughter of the farmer Robert Sym and his wife Agnes Wylie. His second wife's family came from, such as the Mackenzie, from Perkshire in Scotland, had emigrated to Canada in 1821 and had first settled in the vicinity of Perth, before moving in 1837 after Lambton County. This second marriage remained childless.

Professional career and political career

After the death of his father Mackenzie had to provide for the upkeep of the family along with two brothers. At 16, he was able to start an apprenticeship as a stonemason at a Mr. Ireland in Dunkeld. Even before his twentieth birthday, he graduated from the teaching and went in search of work. Since the prospects were not very good in Dunkeld, Mackenzie went to Irvine, where he, in connection with the construction of the railway from Ayr to Glasgow, took a job as a mason in the construction of a railway bridge. In 1842 he emigrated to Canada. His brothers followed him in 1843 or 1847 with the mother. After a brief stay in Montreal, where he refused a job as a stonemason, moved to Kingston. Although his expectations that the inland labor demand would be much higher, as were in a coastal city like Montreal, disappointed, he quickly found work. Since the processed in Kingston limestone was too hard, but he could not work with his tools as a stonemason, but spazialisierte in 1842 as a builder. However, at the end of summer 1842, his employer was insolvent and could not pay him no wages. Thereupon he leased, together with the family Neil a small farm not far from the Loughborough Lake. Landlord was the father of the future Prime Minister of Ontario, Oliver Mowat. However, since no member of the family had experience as a farmer, the results were very modest. At the end of the winter Mackenzie left the farm and never returned there. From the spring of 1843 he participated in the construction of Fort Henry, and was so successful that he was able to set up multiple employees and start a small construction company. He was involved with his men in the construction of Wellandkanals and was responsible for the construction of various courthouse. In November 1846 he and his wife moved to Sarnia, where his brothers and his mother settled.

Mackenzie converted from Presbyterianism to Baptist and was active in the temperance movement.

Soon after his emigration to Canada Mackenzie became politically active and has held several public offices in Lambton County. He was commissioner for censuses, a member of the fire brigade, the dialectical society, Abstinenzlergesellschaft and the school council. He also organized campaigns for liberal politicians at the provincial level, eg for his brother Hope Mackenzie. In 1861 he was elected to the Parliament of the Province of Canada in 1867 to the newly created Canadian House of Commons.

After Governor General Lord Dufferin had dissolved the Conservative government of Sir John A. Macdonald because of the Pacific Scandal, he was looking for someone who could form a new government. When the Liberals there was no clear leader; only after three other politicians had refused Mackenzie was appointed Prime Minister. Mackenzie took office on 7 November 1873, formed a new government and asked the Governor-General, therefore, to be set in 1874 elections on January 22. The lower house elections in 1874 ended in a victory for the Liberal Party.

Mackenzie's main concern during his reign was the reform and simplification of the state administration. He managed the public election meetings from and instead introduced secret ballots, created the Supreme Court and founded the Royal Military Academy of Canada. However, the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway has stalled because financing at that time was almost exclusively with public funds. After the defeat in the general election in 1878 against Macdonald's Conservative Party Mackenzie resigned on 8 October 1878 to 1880 he was leader of the opposition.

At that time it was customary for the British monarch all outgoing Canadian prime minister knighted suggested, but Mackenzie refused this always from. He died at the age of 70 from a heart attack had been caused by a bad fall. Until his death he remained a member of parliament. He is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Sarnia.