History has often dismissed William Lyon Mackenzie as a comical figure, or as the political hothead who bungled the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. Former Toronto mayor John Sewell suggests he may actually be the best model this country has ever had of a responsible politician.
In Mackenzie: A Political Biography of William Lyon Mackenzie, Sewell brings the fiery politician to life. He describes his subject's early years in Scotland, speculating about the political experience Mackenzie may have gained during the 1820 uprisings in Glasgow. He tells us about Mackenzie, feisty journalist and publisher of the Colonial Advocate; Mackenzie, first mayor of Toronto, who diligently served the city; Mackenzie, leader of the Rebellion of 1837, a man paradoxically more inclined to discussion than insurrection. Most importantly, he paints a vivid portrait of a passionate champion of a still inchoate idea -- democracy. Throughout, Sewell traces Mackenzie's attempts to grasp and understand the concept of democracy and the obligations it demands of its adherents.
Mackenzie, his political beliefs, and his experiences more than 150 years ago remain relevant to us today. This stimulating and insightful political biography comes from one of Mackenzie's spiritual descendants and a man himself well known as a Toronto reform politician.