HIST 261: Canada in the Late 1800’s 1
Canada in the 1870’s/1880’s
January 20th 2014
Politics and Reform: Alexander Mackenzie
Alexander Mackenzie became Prime Minister in 1873, replacing John A. Macdonald after the Pacific
Scandal. Alexander Mackenzie and his liberal were committed to reforms. Opposed the lavish spending
of Macdonald, as well as Macdonald’s policy of rapid expansion. Was for responsible government.
Mackenzie supported free trade, low taxes, mortality, and minimal government
● Electoral Reform:
○ secret ballot
○ all European men vs. those that owned land
○ candidates were not allowed to exchange alcohol for votes (pubs were closed on
● Social Reform
○ made it so people didn’t have to go to jail for bankruptcy
○ campaigned against alcohol
■ The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was founded in 1874
■ Women took up campaign against alcohol since too much money went to them,
and men would often come home violent.
■ The Canada Temperance Act was introduced in 1878, and made the ban of
alcohol up to local authorities, this alienated many who moved their support to
● Political Reform
○ Mackenzie made the supreme court of Canada in 1875, didn't like that the governor
general inferred with his government
○ Opposed CPR and Mcdonald's deal with BC, tried to renegotiate but failed, BC
complained to British Colonial Office.
○ Wanted Canada to not be seen a Crown Colony. Wanted Britain to respect Canada’s
● Economic Reform
○ Worked to promote trade between US and Canada
○ Sent George Brown to negotiated a Free Trade deal.
○ growing manufacturing sector in Canada opposed free trade (wanted tariff protection)
○ The US decided it wanted to protect its trade.
As Alexander Mackenzie's term progressed, depression progressed as well.
● Railway constructed was delayed, minor