Sir John A.Macdonald - Builder of a Nation

Sir John A.Macdonald - Builder of a Nation
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.23

     challenging words:    determined, provincial, raiders, alcoholism, legislature, unify, leadership, unrest, unsuccessful, transcontinental, toll, politics, scandal, impressed, better, stability
     content words:    Sir John A., John Alexander Macdonald, Upper Canada, John Macdonald, Progressive Conservative, Attorney General, Etienne- Paschal Tashe, George-Etienne Cartier, United States, Civil War

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Sir John A.Macdonald - Builder of a Nation
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     What does it take to build a nation? What kind of person can gather the threads of many different lives and weave them together? You need a person of vision and character—a man like Sir John A. Macdonald.
2     John Alexander Macdonald was not born in Canada. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on January 11, 1815. His parents, in search of a better life, moved to Upper Canada when John was five. His father's business interests did much better in Kingston. He was able to send his son to the best schools.
3     John Macdonald began studying law when he was 15 and became a lawyer by the time he was 19. During the Battle of the Windmill in 1838, several American raiders were captured. Macdonald defended the men in court. He was unsuccessful, but his work impressed many people.
4     In 1843, Macdonald married. In just a short time, however, his wife became ill and was confined to bed. They were married for 14 years while she slowly died. During that time they had two sons. One died as a small child; the other would eventually follow his father into politics.
5     Soon it became obvious that Macdonald was destined for a career in politics. He was elected to the legislature of the Province of Canada in 1843. His leadership and abilities were noticed quickly.
6     In 1854, he helped found what would become the Progressive Conservative party. When it came to power that year, Macdonald became Attorney General. Then in 1856, he became joint Premier with Etienne- Paschal Tashe of Quebec. Then the next year, he was co-premier with George-Etienne Cartier. It was referred to as Macdonald's coalition government.
7     In 1864, Macdonald was concerned about the future of the British provinces in Canada. He knew that communication and defense were key issues.
8     The unrest in the United States due to the Civil War there was a concern. Many Americans were also looking to add provincial land to their own. Then there were the Fenians, Irish-Americans, who saw the British provinces as fair game for attack. A strong united government would give all the provinces more stability.
9     The Liberal Party joined with the conservatives in "The Great Coalition." It was the first step toward confederation.

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