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Biography of Margaret Thatcher – Woman Prime Minister of United Kingdom
Margaret Thatcher’s Works & Achievements was Revitalizing Britain’s Economy, Suppression of Trade Unions and her Nationality United Kingdom.
Margaret Thatcher is the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and was the first woman to lead a major political party in the country. Margaret Thatcher acted upon many important positions and took major responsibilities as the leader of the Conservative Party before she eventually elected to the premiership in 1979 after which she was reelected for the second and third time consecutively.
During her tenure as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took an uncompromising stand against the trade unions, opposed the Soviet Union and established economic policies of Free Markets, entrepreneurialism and reduced State intervention in the country’s economy.
Though Margaret Thatcher was reelected for a third term in 1987, her popularity had begun to decline by the end of her third term as a result of her views on European community and Community Charge Plan, that many people could not stomach.
Even so, Thatcher still remains a revolutionary figure who revitalized Britain’s economy, impacted the trade unions, transformed UK into a fast growing economy and established the country as a world power.
Margaret Thatcher Childhood and Education
Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on 13 October 1925 in the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire. Margaret Thatcher father Alfred Roberts owned two grocery shops in Grantham and was active in local politics and religion serving as an Alderman and Methodist lay preacher. After attending Hunting tower Road Primary School and Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, she applied for a scholarship to attend Somerville College, Oxford.
Margaret Thatcher went to Oxford in 1943 and studied Natural Science specializing in Chemistry. Margaret Thatcher was elected as President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1946. Margaret Thatcher studied crystallography and received a post graduation B Sc. degree in 1947.
In 1950, Margaret Thatcher took the degree of Masters of Arts. After graduation, Margaret Thatcher moved to Colchester to work as a research chemist for BX plastics. During this period she joined the local Conservative Association.
Margaret Thatcher was also a member of Association of scientific Workers and in 1949, she moved to Dart ford to stand for election as a Member of Parliament.
Margaret Thatcher Political Career
Margaret Thatcher was the youngest ever female Conservative candidate, when she contested for the safe labor seat in Dart Ford in 1950 and 1951 elections. Though Margaret Thatcher could not win the seat, her campaign attracted high media attention. While active in the politics, she married a wealthy businessman Denis Thatcher in 1951 and qualified as a barrister in 1953 with specialization in Taxation.
In the same year Margaret Thatcher gave birth to her twin children, Carol and Mark.
Before being elected as a Member of Parliament in 1959 election, Margaret Thatcher had faced several rejections in the past. Within 2 years, in 1961, Margaret Thatcher was promoted to the front bench as Parliamentary Undersecretary at the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.
Margaret Thatcher moved to the Shadow Treasury in 1966 where she opposed Labor’s mandatory price and income control, which she believed would distort the economy. Margaret Thatcher was also against the Government’s high tax policy, as she was of view that low taxes work as an incentive and motivation to work hard.
In 1967, Margaret Thatcher was selected by the Embassy of the United States in London to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program. Later that year, Margaret Thatcher was moved and joined the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Fuel spokesman and shortly after the 1970 general election she was promoted to Shadow transport and after that, Education.
Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister of United Kingdom (1979 – 1990)
Margaret Thatcher became the Prime Minister on 4 May 1979, with the mandate to reverse the economic decline and to reduce the role of state in the economy. Margaret Thatcher vowed to reduce the government’s excessive interference in economy, which she believed was a hurdle in its growth.
Margaret Thatcher’s political policies emphasized on reducing the state intervention, free markets and entrepreneurialism. Margaret Thatcher took new economic initiatives and began her economic reforms by increasing interest rates and introducing budget cuts.
Margaret Thatcher cut the budget on social services like health care, education and housing, and placed legal restrictions on trade unions. By 1983, the economic growth of UK was stronger and the term ‘Thatcherism’ came to refer the ideologies and policies of Margaret Thatcher and her uncompromising approach of achieving political goals.
After the election of 1983, the Conservative majority expanded and Margaret Thatcher continued to enact her economic policies.
Margaret Thatcher the Falklands
On 2 April 1982, a ruling military in Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, a British overseas territory that Argentina had claimed after 1810 dispute. Margaret Thatcher government recaptured the islands and the salvagers were deported to Argentina.
Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the operation was deemed as a success for the Thatcher government and resulted in a greater support for the government. The lasting effect of the Falklands compounded with the economic recovery in early 1983 was seen in the 1983 election, when the Conservative party won 42% of the votes.
Margaret Thatcher was committed to curb the power and influence of trade unions by privatizing mines and pits. Her reforms instigated Violence and protests from the mine workers, but were successfully combated by the government.
In 1984, National Union of Mineworkers ordered a strike against the legislation imposed on them to curb their power. Violent clashes broke out in many places in which a number of people were injured and arrested. After a year of striking, The National Union gave up without a deal.
Margaret Thatcher European Community
Margaret Thatcher was opposed to the proposal from the European Community for a federal structure and increasing centralization of decision making. Margaret Thatcher was not against the Britain’s membership inthe European Community, but she believed that it should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition.
On the contrary to the European approach to governing, she was a supporter of smaller government and deregulatory trends. Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, who was a great supporter of her, tried to persuade Thatcher to agree to the proposal, which she refused.
Margaret Thatcher felt that the membership will constrain the UK economy. A split emerged overthe European policy within the Conservative Party and eventually Geoffrey resigned from his position of Deputy Prime Minister.
Margaret Thatcher Economic Changes during 1987 – 1990
Margaret Thatcher introduced a new system to raise revenue; she replaced the local government taxes with a Community Charge or ‘Poll tax’. Property taxes were made uniform and the same amount was charged to every individual resident and the residential property tax was replaced with a head tax whose rate would be established by local governments.
As a result the Prime Minister’s popularity declined in 1989. Unrest mounted in the country as Margaret refused to compromise on the tax. Several protest meeting were held, resulting in a number of riots, the most serious of which occurred at Trafalgar Square, London on 31 March 1990.
Margaret Thatcher Fall from Power
In 1990, The Conservative Party began to split on the issue of European Community, as Margaret Thatcher remained firmly opposed to British membership inthe European Monetary system. Apart from it, opposition for her tax policy made her politically weak and vulnerable.
Margaret Thatcher combative personality and uncompromising approach to overrule other’s opinion contributed to the discontentment in the party members. On 1 November 1990, Geoffrey Howe, once her greatsupporter , resigned from his position as Deputy Prime Minister and his resignation speech on 13 November in the House of Commons led to the downfall of the Margaret Thatcher’s Government in UK.
On 22 November an announcement was made informing that she would not be contesting the second ballot. Margaret Thatcher was the only Prime Minister of the 20 centaury to serve three times.
Margaret Thatcher Life after Parliament
Margaret Thatcher became a member of the House of Lords in 1992. Margaret Thatcher had already been honored by the Queen as the ‘Order of Merit’, one of the UK’s highest distinctions in 1990. After leaving the House of the Commons, she authored her memoirs in two volumes : The Path to Power and The Downing Street years.
From 1993 to 2000 served as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Margaret Thatcher was also Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, the UK’s only private university. Margaret Thatcher was widowed on 26 June, 2003.
In February 2007, she became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to be honored with a statue in the House of Parliament while still alive.
Margaret Thatcher Timeline
1925 – Margaret Thatcher was born on 13 October.
1943 – Margaret Thatcher Went to Oxford.
1946 – Margaret Thatcher was elected as President of Oxford Conservative Association.
1949 – Moved to Dart Ford to contest for Member of Parliament.
1961 – Margaret Thatcher was promoted to the front bench as Parliamentary Undersecretary at the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.
1979 – Margaret Thatcher became the Prime Minister of UK on 4 May.
1990 – Protest against the Poll Tax policy was held at Trafalgar Square, London on 31 March.
1990 – Geoffrey Howe resigned from his position of Deputy Prime Minister.
1990 – Resignation of Margaret Thatcher was announced.
1992 – Margaret Thatcher became a member of the House of Lords in 1992.
1993 – Served as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary in Virginia 1993 to 2000.
2003 – Sir Denis Thatcher Died on 26 June.
2007 – Margaret Thatcher became first Prime Minister honored with a statue in the House of Parliament, while still alive.