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PAINE, WILLIAM – Volume VI (1821-1835)

d. 19 April 1833 in Worcester


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

The Election of 1891

In 1891 Sir John A. MACDONALD fought his last election. He defended the National Policy and the British connection, and stressed the importance of resisting American influence in Canada. The Conservatives ran against a Liberal Party rejuvenated by its new leader, Wilfrid LAURIER. The election proved to be a contest between two competing visions of Canada’s future, as described in the biography of Ontario Liberal mp Sir Richard John CARTWRIGHT:

“In the election of 1891 the Conservatives tied the National Policy to loyalty to the empire and depicted the Liberals as the party which would bring annexation to the United States in through the back door of commercial union. Cartwright and another prominent Liberal, John Charlton*, vigorously championed the virtues of unrestricted reciprocity, especially among Ontario farmers. Their campaign helped the Liberals wrest seven seats from the Conservatives in Ontario and gain a majority of seats in central Canada. But Macdonald won the election.”


The gruelling campaign enervated Macdonald, and he suffered the first of two strokes soon after parliament returned. On 6 June 1891, he died. The long political struggles of Sir John A. Macdonald were over, and were passed to his Conservative and Liberal successors.

To find out more about Macdonald’s last election, please read these biographies.

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