The First Grand Council of the Confederation of North America was elected to a five-year term on 14 February 1843. The partisan makeup of the First Grand Council was 91 Unified Liberal Party, and 59 National Conservative Party.
The First Grand Council's Unified Liberal majority elected General Winfield Scott of Indiana to the office of Governor-General on the first ballot. It is not known who was chosen as Majority Leader, but Willie Lloyd of the Southern Confederation was chosen by the N.C.P. as Minority Leader. Scott's Cabinet included Henry Gilpin as Minister of War and Bruce Harrison as Minister of State, both from the Northern Confederation.
Scott had an ambitious program of internal improvements planned to make the C.N.A. a more tightly-knit nation, and during his first year in office he was able to gain passage of much of it. This included the formation of the New York, Michigan City, and Pitt Railroad, several homestead acts to encourage settlement of the frontier confederations of Manitoba and Vandalia, and financial legislation to ensure the stability of each confederation's banks. However, a year into his term, silver was discovered along the ill-defined border between Vandalia and the Mexican state of Mexico del Norte.
Prospectors from both nations flocked to the Broken Arrow region and began filing conflicting claims and establishing poorly-governed mining towns. By 1845 fighting between the miners had broken out, and they began to form themselves into armed bands that attacked each others' settlements.From February to June 197 North Americans and 156 Mexicans had been killed, and the settlements of Morelos and Kinsey were destroyed.
Scott wished to avoid war with the U.S.M., but he was hampered by Gilpin, who was eager to come to blows with the Mexicans, and who had greater support within the Grand Council's Unified Liberal caucus than Scott. Scott appealed to Lloyd for support for his peace proposals, but Lloyd was hoping that the dispute between Scott and Gilpin would bring down their government and allow him to force a new set of elections. Gilpin was finally able to maneuver Scott into sending North American troops into the disputed region. The two nations' armies clashed on 4 September, and though Sobel says it is impossible to determine who fired the first shot, Frank Dana in his critique of For Want of a Nail ... insists that most historians consider the C.N.A. to be the aggressor. The outbreak of war led Harrison to resign his Cabinet seat and become a back-bencher in the First Grand Council, where he became an outspoken critic of the war. Opposition to the war among the National Conservatives was led by Councilman William Johnson of Manitoba.
Scott's government spent the remainder of its term mobilizing for and fighting the Rocky Mountain War. Even though the C.N.A. had 24 million people to the U.S.M.'s 16 million, a vastly larger navy, and the support of the British Empire, the Mexicans were able to fight the North Americans to a draw, defeating a series of armies sent against them in Mexico del Norte, and driving off an attempt to capture Mexico City. By the end of the First Grand Council's term of office, Scott was no closer to defeating the Mexicans than he had been when the war began.
|C.N.A. Grand Councils|
|First • Second • Third • Fourth • Fifth • Sixth • Seventh • Eighth • Ninth • Tenth • Eleventh • Twelfth • Thirteenth • Fourteenth • Fifteenth • Sixteenth • Seventeenth • Eighteenth • Nineteenth • Twentieth • Twenty-first • Twenty-second • Twenty-third • Twenty-fourth • Twenty-fifth • Twenty-sixth|