William Lyon Mackenzie King Quick Facts
William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King served as Canada’s prime minister three times between 1921 and 1948, holding office for a total of 21 years during that period. He worked to improve Canadian cooperation with Britain and the United States.
THE BETTMANN ARCHIVE
W. L. Mackenzie King (1874-1950), tenth prime minister of Canada (1921-1926, 1926-1930, 1935-1948). King was the leader of Canada's Liberal Party from 1919 to 1948. On his retirement he had held office longer than any other prime minister in the British Commonwealth, and under his leadership, Canada …show more content…
William Lyon Mackenzie King was born in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, in 1874. He was named after his maternal grandfather, William Lyon Mackenzie, a leader in an unsuccessful 1837 rebellion against British rule. King's father came from a family that was loyal to Britain, and this combination of opposites foreshadowed King's future.
In 1891 King went to the University of Toronto to study economics and government. He won a scholarship to the University of Chicago and did postgraduate work at Harvard University.
In Toronto and in Chicago, King had been appalled by the poverty of big cities. In the summer of 1897 he took a job as a reporter for the Toronto Mail and Empire and made a study of conditions in the garment industry. He found that the contractors for postmen's uniforms ran some of the worst sweatshops. King told the facts to the postmaster general, Sir William Mulock, who was a family friend, and suggested that a fair-wage clause be included in future contracts. Mulock took the advice. In 1900 he invited King to administer Canada's first department of labor. King accepted and at 25 became deputy minister of labor.
III. EARLY CAREER
A. Civil …show more content…
RETURN TO OFFICE
In the 1935 election the Liberals campaigned by saying that Conservatives had stolen most of their new reforms from the Liberals, who were better able to operate them. The depression gave King his greatest Parliamentary majority up to that time, 171 seats out of 245.
After the election, King's first success was the reduction of trade barriers between Canada and the United States. The agreement was followed by another in 1938 that reduced tariffs between Great Britain, the United States, and Canada. However, through most of the 1930s, Canada remained in the grip of the depression, the effects of which were magnified by a drought in the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. When the economic situation improved somewhat in 1937 and 1939, the Liberal government took credit.
A. International Affairs
King was torn between a sentimental attachment to Britain and international cooperation, and an equally strong devotion to North American isolationism. In addition, King refused to believe that there would be another war. In 1937 King met German dictator Adolf Hitler and thought him a “simple sort of peasant” and no danger to anyone. King kept Canada's military spending to a minimum. Whatever was spent on Canadian defense was pushed through by the prime minister against the opposition of many of his