Stanley Baldwin

Stanley Baldwin

Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC, FRS (3 August 1867 – 14 December 1947) was a British Conservative politician, who dominated the government in his country between the two world wars. Three times Prime Minister, he is the only one to serve under three different monarchs (George V, Edward VIII and George VI).

Baldwin first entered the House of Commons in 1908 as the Member of Parliament for Bewdley, and held government office in the coalition ministry of David Lloyd George. In 1922 Baldwin was one of the prime movers in the withdrawal of Conservative support from Lloyd George and became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Bonar Law's Conservative ministry. Upon Bonar Law's resignation in May 1923, Baldwin became Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader. He called an Election on the issue of tariffs and lost the Conservatives' majority, after which Ramsay MacDonald formed a minority Labour government.

After winning the 1924 General Election Baldwin formed his second government, which saw important tenures of office by Sir Austen Chamberlain (Foreign Secretary), Winston Churchill (at the Exchequer) and Neville Chamberlain (Health). That government also saw the General Strike in 1926 and the 1927 Trades Disputes Act to curb the powers of trade unions, although Baldwin was supportive of Labour politicians at Westminster forming minority governments. Baldwin lost the 1929 General Election and his continued leadership was subject to criticism by the press barons Rothermere and Beaverbrook.

In 1931, Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald formed a National Government, most of whose ministers were Conservatives and which won an enormous majority at the 1931 General Election. As Lord President of the Council Baldwin took over many of the Prime Minister's duties due to MacDonald's failing health. This government saw an Act delivering increased self-government for India, a measure opposed by Churchill and by many rank-and-file Conservatives. As party leader he made many striking innovations, such as clever use of radio and film that made him highly visible to the public and strengthened the Conservative appeal.

In 1935, Baldwin replaced MacDonald as Prime Minister of the National Government, and won the 1935 General Election with another large majority. During this time, he oversaw the re-armament process of the British military as well as the abdication of King Edward VIII. Baldwin's third government saw a number of crises in foreign affairs, including the public uproar over the Hoare-Laval Pact, Hitler's reoccupation of the Rhineland and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Baldwin retired in 1937 and was succeeded by Neville Chamberlain. At that time he was regarded as a popular and successful prime minister, but for the final decade of his life, and for many years afterwards, he was vilified for having presided over high unemployment in the 1930s and as one of the "Guilty Men" who had tried to appease Adolf Hitler and who had - supposedly - not rearmed sufficiently to prepare for the Second World War. By 2004, however, historians generally painted a positive portrait of his governments. Ball says, "Baldwin is now seen as having done more than most and perhaps as much as was possible in the context, but the fact remains that it was not enough to deter the aggressors or ensure their defeat. Less equivocal was his rediscovery as a moderate and inclusive Conservative for the modern age, part of a 'one nation tradition."

Read more about Stanley BaldwinEarly Life, Early Political Career, Prime Minister (1923–1924), Leader of The Opposition, Prime Minister (1924–1929), Lord President of The Council, Prime Minister (1935–1937), Later Life, Legacy, First Government, May 1923 – January 1924, Second Cabinet, November 1924 – June 1929, Third Cabinet, June 1935 – May 1937, In Film, Television and Literature, Miscellaneous

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Famous quotes containing the words baldwin and/or stanley:

    An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.
    —James Baldwin (1924–1987)

    Learn by our friendship to create
    An immaterial fire,
    —Thomas Stanley (1625–1678)