Concept

John Kent (Newfoundland politician)

Summary
John Kent (1805 – 1 September 1872) arrived in Newfoundland in 1820 and started working for his uncle, Patrick Morris, a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He was elected to the first House of Assembly in 1832 as a Liberal. Kent was a champion of Catholic rights on an island that was then deeply divided along religious lines, which his actions directly exacerbated. He was described in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (DCB) as a demagogue who "enjoyed the storm and rode it to his own advantage", a style of politicking later followed in similar fashion by, among others, Edward Murphy Jr. (of Troy, New York) and Richard J. Daley (of Chicago). The DCB states, "Kent's electioneering was a compound of his own strident vitality, intimidation, and clerical influence. Newfoundland in 1832 had virtually universal suffrage under a household franchise, and it was not difficult to secure election by turbulent, and very effective means. Kent was of the school of Reformers who relish
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