A biography of william lyon mackenzie king the greatest prime minister of canada

By Jim Coyle News Sat. Mackenzie King in The cautious, cagey, three-time prime minister was credited for keeping the young country together.

Occupations and Other Identifiers

William Lyon Mackenzie King William Lyon Mackenzie King was prime minister of Canada for more than 21 years, a longer period in office than any other first minister in the history of countries in the British Commonwealth. Mackenzie King was born at Berlin later KitchenerOntario.

A biography of william lyon mackenzie king the greatest prime minister of canada

His maternal spiritual inheritance was of some significance to King and may help to explain his lifelong ambivalence between his urge to be a reformer and his craving for social respectability.

King graduated from the University of Toronto inundertook postgraduate studies at Chicago, and secured a doctorate in political economy from Harvard.

In Chicago he was associated with Jane Addams 's work at Hull House, an experience which strengthened his interest in social reform. Entry into Government Service In King joined the Canadian civil service as deputy minister of labor, and inwhen he entered politics and won the riding of Waterloo North for the Liberals, the prime ministerSir Wilfrid Laurierappointed him Canada's first full-time minister of labor.

In the prewar years he achieved considerable prominence in Canada as a labor conciliator and was chiefly responsible for drafting and presenting to Parliament the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act and the Combines Investigation Act These measures revealed King's tenaciously held faith that exposure of the facts of any situation to public scrutiny would create a public opinion strong enough to ensure the resolution of social problems.

During World War I King worked for the Rockefeller Foundation on labor research and served as an industrial counselor to the Rockefeller interests.

A biography of william lyon mackenzie king the greatest prime minister of canada

His views on industrial relations were expounded vaguely and verbosely in Industry and Humanity Party Leader and Prime Minister Following Laurier's death a Liberal party convention in chose King as party leader, and he reentered the House of Commons as leader of the opposition.

He became prime minister in as the result of an election which brought an end to the two-party system in federal politics. A large part of his support then and later lay in a solid block of conservative French-Canadian members of Parliament. While keeping their allegiance he endeavored to woo the 65 members of the second largest group in Parliament, the agrarian Progressive partywhom King described as "Liberals in a hurry," temporarily adrift from their true political home.

By most of the Progressives had returned to the Liberal fold, thanks mainly to King's judicious concessions in the direction of a lower tariff. By adroit maneuvering rather than through any correct constitutional interpretation, King survived the "King-Byng constitutional crisis" of and held office again after a few weeks in opposition until he was defeated inan event he later perceived as good fortune since it labeled the victorious Conservatives for years to come as the "party of depression.

He was not unwilling to use the existence of the new socialist group to strengthen reform elements within his own party. By the end of World War II he was genuinely alarmed by the apparently growing threat presented by the CCF, and this awareness did much to push through a program of postwar reconstruction measures, including the extension of social insurance and the establishment of family allowances.

Foreign Relations In external relations King was a steady proponent of Canadian autonomy, and during his years in office complete sovereignty within the British Commonwealth was achieved.

He exercised this sovereignty with great caution, pursuing a policy of "no commitments" in the League of Nations and toward collective security generally.

As the threat of war increased in the s, King consistently refused to declare Canadian policy beyond the assertion that "Parliament will decide. Under King's leadership Canada moved into a new era of closer relations with the United Statesnotably during World War IIwhen the Ogdensburg Agreement ofestablishing the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, was followed by the Hyde Park Agreement ofto promote cooperation between the two countries in defense production.

King's enormous skill as a politician was never better demonstrated than during the war, when he managed to prevent the conscription question from tearing the nation apart as it had in It was perhaps his greatest achievement that he brought French and English Canadians through the war in relative harmony.

Indeed, the most consistent theme in King's political philosophy and practice was his commitment to Canadian unity, and increasingly he saw the unity of the Liberal party as synonymous with national unity. King had no personal magnetism, he was no orator, and he aroused little affection even in his warmest supporters.

His political longevity was due to his acute political sense and, sometimes, to his ruthlessness. He never married, and in his loneliness he confided his perpetual self-doubt and his ambitions to his voluminous diaries.

He died 2 years after his retirement at Kingsmere, his country home near Ottawa, on July 22, Further Reading Two excellent volumes of the official biography of King have been published: A Political Biography,and H.

The Lonely Heights, Bruce Hutchinson, The Incredible Canadianis a popular biography by a good journalist. Pickersgill and Donald F. McGregor, The Fall and Rise of Mackenzie King,recounts in detail King's work as a labor conciliator and his rise to party leadership.

The Rise of the Leadergives a less flattering account of roughly the same years. Additional Sources Ferns, H.

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Macmillan of Canada, Teatero, William, Mackenzie King:There are two modern biographies: William Kilbourn, The firebrand: William Lyon Mackenzie and the rebellion in Upper Canada (Toronto, ), and David Flint, William Lyon Mackenzie: rebel against authority (Toronto, ).

S. King's greatest impact was as the political champion for the planning and development of Ottawa, Canada's national capital. His plans, much of which were completed in the two decades after his death, was part of a century of federal planning that repositioned Ottawa as .

Mackenzie King, as he is usually called, was the son of John King and Isabel Grace Mackenzie, daughter of William Lyon Mackenzie, a leader of the Rebellion of aimed at establishing independent self-government in Upper Canada.

Watch video · William Lyon Mackenzie was a journalist and political agitator who led an unsuccessful revolt against the Canadian government in Born on March 12, , in Dundee, Scotland, William Lyon Born: Mar 12, This article is the Electoral history of William Lyon Mackenzie King, the tenth Prime Minister of Canada.

A Liberal, he was Canada's longest-serving Prime Minister, with three separate terms as Prime Minister (–, King and the Liberals won the greatest number of seats in the election, but were short of a majority. William Lyon Mackenzie King became party leader in and two years later was elected prime minister, a position he retained for all but five years until his retirement in Under his leadership, the Liberals had some success in mediating French-English and regional differences,.

William Lyon Mackenzie King - Wikipedia