Robert Laird Borden 1854 -1937

Discussion in 'Non-Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Robert Laird Borden was born in Grand Pre Nova Scotia in 1854. His father owned a farm and worked as the local stationmaster. Young Borden was educated at the local school, Acacia Villa Academy. So promising were his intellectual abilities, that he became an assistant school master at the Academy at the age of fourteen. At nineteen, Borden was offered a teaching position in Matawan, New Jersey. He returned to Nova Scotia two years later and began articling with a Halifax law firm, not having the means to study law at university. Borden was called to the Bar in 1878, and proceeded to establish himself as a successful lawyer in partnership with Charles Hibbert Tupper, son of the future Conservative Prime Minister, Charles Tupper

    It was through the Tupper family that Borden was drawn into politics. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1896 and succeeded Tupper as leader of the Conservatives in 1901. The Tories had been in disarray since the death of Sir John A. Macdonald in 1891 and were badly beaten in the elections of 1896 and 1900. Borden spent his ten years as Leader of the Opposition rebuilding the party. He had none of Laurier's oratorical mastery or charisma. His talents included a methodical efficiency and a remarkable capacity for work. But even within his own party, Borden's skills were sometimes overlooked; his attempts to reconcile the varying opinions of his colleagues were often interpreted as indecisiveness.

    Borden's leadership ability was most thoroughly tested during the First World War. The demands made on the workings of government, as well as the economy and social structure of the nation were acute. When war was declared in August 1914, just three years into Borden's term as prime minister, he realized the nature of the crisis that had been so suddenly imposed. Not only was there to be an army enlisted, trained and armed, but also a whole nation to be reorganized in order to procure equipment and manpower, to regulate industry, agriculture and transportation, to raise funds and safeguard currency, all essential to the war effort.

    Borden was in Europe in 1915 and visited Canadian soldiers at the front and in hospitals in Britain. He was horrified at the suffering they had endured. He was even more appalled to learn of the incompetence of the British High Command and, as a result, demanded that Canada have more say in the Allied planning. Borden was also determined that the efforts of Canadian soldiers in France would be supported by adequate reinforcements. In the face of dwindling enlistment, he proposed conscription..

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  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

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