Angus L. Macdonald

Angus L. Macdonald: A Provincial Liberal

T. STEPHEN HENDERSON
Copyright Date: 2007
DOI: 10.3138/9781442684034
Pages: 368
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442684034
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  • Book Info
    Angus L. Macdonald
    Book Description:

    This new work by T. Stephen Henderson is the first academic biography of Macdonald, whose life provides a framework for the study of Canada's pre- and post-war transformation, and a rare opportunity to compare the political history of the two periods.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8403-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    Two bridges span the Halifax Harbour: the A. Murray MacKay and the Angus L. Macdonald. These bridges carry thousands of vehicles per day, and anyone who listens to traffic reports in the metropolitan area is familiar with their names. Most do not know that Murray MacKay was an executive with the telephone company, a prominent fund-raiser for local charities, and the first chair of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission. Most are aware that Angus L. Macdonald was a long-serving premier of the province, and almost every Nova Scotian born before 1950 could tell you that he was a political legend who...

  5. 1 Dunvegan to Halifax
    (pp. 10-44)

    Angus Macdonald grew up in Dunvegan, Inverness County, in the Diocese of Antigonish on the eastern shores of the Northumberland Strait. The waters of the Strait linked Macdonald’s extended family; the judicial institutions of Inverness County and the town of Port Hood gave his father work and an identity; the priests of the diocese educated young Angus and watched over his early spiritual and intellectual development; the Empire commanded his loyalty, and Canada equipped him to fight in its defence. The Province of Nova Scotia had meaning for only the small political and commercial elite and not the overwhelming majority...

  6. 2 The Macdonald Decade
    (pp. 45-89)

    The 1930s belonged to Angus L. Macdonald. He began the decade as an unknown professor of law and ended it as perhaps the most respected provincial premier in the country. He overcame religious bigotry and inexperience and established himself as an electoral power, delivering Liberal majorities in provincial and federal contests. He shunned the novel and more radical political trends of Ontario and the West, remaining within the tent of Liberal orthodoxy while lobbying for significant constitutional reform. Nova Scotia endured its second decade of depression, but his yearly budgets glistened with black ink even as the province borrowed heavily...

  7. 3 Macdonald versus King
    (pp. 90-149)

    Angus L. Macdonald had made the transition from peace to war in the late summer of 1939 much as other Canadians did. He knew well the horrors of war and was not blinded by loyalty to the Empire. He believed simply that Nazi Germany had to be defeated and was prepared to accept vastly expanded state powers to bring about this defeat. Macdonald noted that Canadians did not greet war with the enthusiasm and momentum of 1914, but he judged them to be more determined, ‘spurred on’ by Hitler’s audacity. He argued that the Allies had to win a ‘decisive...

  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. 4 The Provinces’ Champion
    (pp. 150-179)

    Angus Macdonald returned to his chair in the premier’s office of Nova Scotia in the autumn of 1945, just after the abrupt end to the Pacific War. Macdonald’s homecoming perhaps brought a sense of closure to the war effort for many Nova Scotians; they could pick up their lives where they had left off in 1939 now that ‘Angus L.’ had come back. Macdonald, too, took up a familiar task: working for a more equitable federation.

    Canada felt the deserved pride of a victor, having mounted a significant and well-organized war effort. Many perceived an almost limitless potential at home...

  10. 5 Limits of the Liberal State
    (pp. 180-210)

    Angus Macdonald maintained his political dominance in Nova Scotia until his death in 1954. The strong ministers of the pre-war cabinets had departed, and on the whole the new ministers were weaker and unable to challenge him on policy, even had they wanted to do so. Macdonald generally left each to run his own department, but on key issues the premier usually convinced his colleagues of the wisdom of his views.¹ Government policy, therefore, remained consistent with Macdonald’s philosophy of the role of the liberal state.

    Macdonald cautiously combined the frustrations of the disadvantaged with the rhetoric of individual liberty...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 211-216)

    The opening ceremonies of the Canso Causeway attracted some 35,000 people in August 1955. Premier Henry Hicks chaired the event and welcomed federal dignitaries C.D. Howe, minister of trade and Commerce, and Donald Gordon, president of Canadian National Railways. He then introduced Father Stanley Macdonald to offer a Gaelic welcome.

    When I was asked to say a few words in Gaelic, they told me they would allow me one minute. Then they got generous and their hearts expanded and they gave me two minutes. Of course, we must make allowances for them. As you know the city of Ottawa is...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 217-274)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 275-292)
  14. Index
    (pp. 293-300)