Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for October 23rd!
Mackenzie King sworn in as Prime Minister, 1935 – October 23rd. Many consider him the greatest Prime Minister we have ever had. Many consider him the craziest! This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of Canada, looks at the life of Canada’s 10th Prime Minister.
This Canadian History for Kids article begins with William Lyon Mackenzie King being born on December 17, 1874 into a deeply Presbyterian household in Kitchener, Ontario. King remains the most well-educated of Canadian prime ministers. He studied at the University of Toronto, Chicago, Harvard, and the London School of Economics and held a doctorate in economics. His education also included social work in some of the worst slums in North America.
This Canadian History for Kids article continues when he was elected to Parliament in 1908, and he immediately became Wilfred Laurier’s Minister of Labour. After the defeat of Laurier’s government in 1911, he went to work for the Rockefellers in the US, but returned to Canada in 1917 to fight alongside Laurier in the divisive election over conscription, thus earning the gratitude of Québec.
King became Prime Minister for the first time in 1921. He led his Liberal government through prosperous times, but he underestimated the impact of the 1929 Stock Market Crash. He lost the 1930 election to the Conservatives under R.B. Bennett.
This Canadian History for Kids article continues in 1935 when the Liberals were re-elected in a country still devastated by the Depression. King’s government set to work by providing relief to prairie farmers and laying the ground for unemployment insurance. Canada followed Britain in declaring war on Germany on September 7, 1939. To win support from Québec for a national war effort, King pledged that the federal government would not introduce conscription.
It was only long after his 1950 death that Canadians learned about the private Mackenzie King. In public, he seemed a guarded, but through a set of diaries, he described his beliefs in spiritualism, which included contact with his deceased mother and rebel grandfather.
King guided Canada through the Depression after 1935, led a united country through a terrible war, and laid the foundations of Canada’s social security system.
Canadian History for Kids’ Highlights as Prime Minister
- social programs such as unemployment insurance, old age pensions, welfare, and the family allowance
- freer trade with the United States
- led Canada through World War II, surviving a conscription crisis that split Canada along English French lines. Introduced the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) which trained more than 130,000 air crew in Canada for the Allied war effort
- Canadian Citizenship Act. Mackenzie King became the first Canadian citizen in 1947
And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids Sketches of Canada!