Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 1999


Published in Great Plains Research 9 (Spring 1999). Copyright © 1999 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


John Diefenbaker, Canada's Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963, remarked during his last campaigns as Conservative Party leader, "Everybody is against me but the people." The comment, though a quintessential expression of his populism (lightly laced with a touch of paranoia), was not altogether inaccurate. Even after his defeat, Diefenbaker enjoyed folk-hero status with many of those he called "average Canadians," but continued, largely, to be dismissed as an incompetent failure by the country's political, academic, and journalistic elites. Denis Smith's 1995 biography, Rogue Tory, was the first balanced, albeit critical, examination of Diefenbaker's career. This new collection of essays, a number from a younger generation of scholars, carries forward the work of re-assessing Diefenbaker's career and his enduring impact.