Patriarch of Canada

1815-2015
Sir John A Macdonald circa 1888. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Sir John A Macdonald circa 1888. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. Macdonald is rendered as the "patriarch of Canada" in an era when the concept of nation-state had not yet been articulated. As Stephen Daniels argues in his theoretical analysis of "imagined communities," nationalism appropriates legends, golden ages, dramatic destinies, and promised homelands to give shape to emerging nations. From this perspective, Macdonald attains iconic stature because of his many contributions: his role in uniting French and Anglo identities; his imagining the "National Dream" of a trans-continental Canada, reifying it by the completion of the CPR in 1885, and protecting it by his "National Policy" that ensured Canada's economic viability; his defence of Canada from the threat of a post-Civil War United States pursuing its "manifest destiny" of continental expansion; and his diplomatic role on the international stage.