"It is what we prevent, rather than what we do that counts most in Government." (Mackenzie King august 26, 1936) This statement sums up the best secrets of Mackenzie King's success as prime minister, and perhaps, the key to governing Canada effectively. King's record of prime minister is sometimes difficult to judge. He had no uninteresting images, he gave no repetitive speeches, and he champions no drastic stage. He is remembered for his easygoing, passive compromise and conciliation (Gregory, page 267). Yet Mackenzie King led Canada for a total of twenty-two years, through half the Depression and all of the Second World War. Like every other prime minister, he had to possess ambition, endurance and determination to become prime minister and, in spite if appearances, his accomplishments in that role required political acuity, decisiveness and faultless judgment.
William Lyon Mackenzie King was born in Berlin (later renamed Kitchener), Ontario in 1874. His father was a lawyer and his maternal grandfather was William Lyon Mackenzie, leader of the 1837 Rebellion in Upper Canada. From an early age, King identified with his grandfather, an association that influenced him throughout his political life.
King studied economics and law at the University of Toronto also, the University of Chicago. After graduating with an M.A. in 1897, he pursued his studies at Harvard. In 1900, he entered the civil service and became Deputy Minister of the new Department of Labor. King joined the Liberal party and won a seat in the 1908 election. The following year he was chosen Minister of Labor in Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier's Cabinet.
After he lost his seat in the 1911 election, King worked as a labor advisor for the Rockefeller...