Sir John Abbott

Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott, lawyer, professor, politician, prime minister (b at St Andrews East [St-André-Est], Lower Canada 12 Mar 1821; d at Montréal 30 Oct 1893).

Abbott, Sir John Joseph Caldwell
Abbott became prime minister mainly because the Conservative Party could not agree on Macdonald's successor (photo 1892 by W.J. Topley, courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-33933).

Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott, lawyer, professor, politician, prime minister (b at St Andrews East [St-André-Est], Lower Canada 12 Mar 1821; d at Montréal 30 Oct 1893). A graduate of McGill College, John Abbott was admitted to the bar 1847 and taught at McGill from 1853, serving as dean of the law faculty 1855-80. Although he signed the Annexation Manifesto in 1849, he quickly recanted and during the Trent Affair of 1861 he raised and commanded a militia force to patrol the border with the US. He sat in the legislative assembly, and later in the House of Commons from 1857 until he was appointed to the Senate in 1887, except for the period 1874-80.

Solicitor general for Canada East in the short-lived administration of J.S. Macdonald and L.V. Sicotte 1862-63, he entered the federal Cabinet in 1887 as government leader in the Senate and minister without portfolio. (He was also mayor of Montréal 1887-89.) In 1891 he succeeded Sir John A. Macdonald as PM. His was largely a caretaking administration and in 1892 he turned over the government to Sir John S.D. Thompson.


Prime Ministers of Canada

Name

Party

Term

Con.

1867-1873

Lib.

1873-1878

Con.

1878-1891

Con.

1891-1892

Con.

1892-1894

Con.

1894-1896

Con.

1896

Lib.

1896-1911

Con.

1911-1917

Union Gov

1917-1920

Con.

1920-1921

Lib.

1921-1926

Con.

1926

Lib.

1926-1930

Con.

1930-1935

Lib.

1935-1948

Lib.

1948-1957

Con.

1957-1963

Lib.

1963-1968

Lib.

1968-1979

Con.

1979-1980

Lib.

1980-1984

Lib.

1984

Con.

1984-1993

Con.

1993

Lib.

1993-2003

Lib.

2003-2006

Con.

2006-2015

Lib.

2015-

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Further Reading

  • C. Ondaatje and D. Swainson, The Prime Ministers of Canada 1867-1968 (1968).