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Governor-General John McDowell.

The Civil Rights Act of 1879 was an act passed by the Grand Council of the Confederation of North America and signed into law by Governor-General John McDowell in 1879. As with all the legislation passed by the Grand Council during McDowell's first term, the act was passed by a bipartisan coalition of McDowell's Liberal Party, which held a plurality of 62 seats in the Eighth Grand Council, and the People's Coalition, a recently-founded reform party with 39 seats.

The act guaranteed for all citizens of the C.N.A. "the full protection of the law in their public pursuits." However, as was the case with most of the reforms passed during McDowell's first term, the Civil Rights Act had no enforcement provisions. Thus, McDowell achieved a reputation as a reformer without having to pay the price of opposition from entrenched interests.