The Right Honourable
Sir Charles Tupper


"The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being cabin'd, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men." Charles Tupper, 1865

Private Life
  • Born: July 2, 1821 in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
  • Education: Horton Academy, Wolfville.
    • Graduated University of Edinburgh as an MD, Scotland, 1843.
  • Returned to Amherst to set up practice.
  • Marriage: Frances Morse (1826-1912) in 1846.
    • Three sons and three daughters.
  • President of the Canadian Medical Association, 1867-1870.
  • Died: October 30, 1915, in Bexley Heath, Kent, England, of heart failure. Buried in St. John's Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Political Career

Did You Know?

Tupper was the only Canadian prime minister who was a physician. In fact, he continued to practice medicine throughout his career. From 1867 to 1870, Tupper served as the first president of the Canadian Medical Association.

  • Entered politics as a Conservative in 1855.
    • Defeated popular Reformer Joseph Howe to win the Cumberland riding in Nova Scotia.
  • Constituencies: Cumberland, Nova Scotia, 1867-1884, 1887-1888; Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, 1896-1890.
  • Provincial Secretary of Nova Scotia, 1857-1860, 1863-1867.
  • Premier of Nova Scotia, 1864-1867.
  • Participated in the Confederation Conferences of Charlottetown, 1864.
  • Participated in the Confederation Conferences of Quebec, 1864.
  • Participated in the Confederation Conferences of London, 1866.
  • Father of Confederation, 1867.
    • Despite anti-confederation sentiments, Tupper convinced the province of Nova Scotia to join Confederation in 1867.
    • Became the only member from Nova Scotia who supported Confederation to be elected for the Federal Parliament, 1867.
  • Convinced anti-Confederation supporter Joseph Howe to accept the union of Canada and to join Sir John A. Macdonald's Cabinet.
  • President of the Privy Council, 1870-1872.
  • Minister of Inland Revenue, 1872-1873.
  • Minister of Customs, 1873.
  • Minister of Public Works, 1878-1879.
  • Minister of Railways and Canals, 1879-1884.
  • Constructed the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR), 1879-1884.
  • High Commisioner to the United Kingdom, 1884-1887, 1888-1896.
  • Minister of Finance, 1887-1888.
  • Secretary of State, 1896.
  • Appointed as Prime Minister in April 1896 by Governor-General Lord Aberdeen following the resignation of Mackenzie Bowell.
    • Tories were forced to call an election following Bowell's resignation.
    • Tupper led an aggressive campaign, but scandals and contentious issues (e.g. Manitoba Schools Question) enabled Liberal Sir Wilfrid Laurier to be elected.
    • Tupper's duration as Prime Minister was the shortest in Canadian history.
  • Conservative Party Leader, 1896-1901.
  • Leader of the Opposition, 1896-1901.
  • When his wife, Frances Morse died in 1912, they had been married 65 years.

*(Progressive) Conservative *Liberal *Unionist/Conservative

* Macdonald * Mackenzie * Abbott * Thompson * Bowell
* Tupper * Laurier * Borden * Meighen * King
* Bennett * St. Laurent * Diefenbaker * Pearson * Trudeau
* Clark * Turner * Mulroney * Campbell * Chrétien