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Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990.


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Nikita Sidana

Nikita Sidana

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In November 1990 Thatcher was challenged as leader of the Conservative Party. She won the first round of the contest but the majority is not enough to prevent a second round. On 28th November, 1990, Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister and was replaced by John Major. The Daily Telegraph, who supported her throughout her premiership commented: "Margaret Thatcher was the only British prime minister to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply. Monetarism, privatisation, deregulation, small government, lower taxes and free trade - all these features of the modern globalised economy were crucially promoted as a result of the policy prescriptions she employed to reverse Britain’s economic decline."

Thatcher left the House of Commons in March 1992. Soon afterwards she entered the House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.

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February 21, 2007 - Thatcher unveils a 7 foot 4 in. silicon bronze statue of herself at the Houses of Parliament.

August 2008 - Daughter Carol confirms Mrs. Thatcher is suffering from dementia, first noticed in 2000.

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Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” of British politics, who set her country on a rightward economic course, led it to victory in the Falklands war and helped guide the United States and the Soviet Union through the cold war’s difficult last years, died on Monday in London. She was 87.

Her spokesman, Tim Bell, said she died of a stroke at the Ritz Hotel. She had been in poor health for months and had suffered from dementia.

Article: Margaret Thatcher, ‘Iro...
Source: The New York Times
Nikita Sidana

Nikita Sidana

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She passed away on April 8, 2013, in  London


Thatcher is the only twentieth-century prime minister whose name has given rise to an "ism." Coined in 1976, it implies that the ideology she advocated was unique. This is a disputed point, but her brand of mold-breaking politics, with its emphasis on monetarism, individualism, and allowing Britain to act as a world player, has made her one of the most influential British politicians of the twentieth century. She was a politician either loved or loathed...

Article: Thatcher, Margaret (b. 19...
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Nikita Sidana

Nikita Sidana

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She wrote two best-selling volumes of memoirs - The Downing Street Years (1993) and The Path to Power (1995) - while continuing for a full decade to tour the world as a lecturer.


During her second term as Prime Minister, Thatcher’s government found itself challenged by the miners' union, which fought a strike in 1984 through 1985 under militant leadership. The labor movement as a whole resisted the government's trade union reforms, which began with legislation in 1980 and 1982 and continued after the general election.

In October 1984, when the strike was still underway, the Irish Republican Army attempted to murder Margaret Thatcher, and many of her cabinet, by bombing her hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party’s annual conference. Although she survived unhurt, some of her closest colleagues were among the injured and deceased, and the room next to hers was severely damaged.

Thatcher’s policy was implacably hostile to terrorism, republican or loyalist, although she matched that stance by negotiating the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 with the Republic of Ireland. The Agreement was an attempt to improve security cooperation between Britain and Ireland and to give some recognition to the political outlook of Catholics in Northern Ireland, an initiative that won warm endorsement from the Reagan administration and the U.S. Congress.

The economy continued to improve during the 1983-87 parliament and the policy of economic liberalization was extended. The government began to pursue a policy of selling state assets, which in total had amounted to more than 20 percent of the economy when the Conservatives came to power in 1979. The British privatizations of the 1980s were the first of their kind and proved influential across the world.

For her third term, Thatcher’s government created measures to reform the education system (1988), introducing a national curriculum for the first time. There was a new tax system for local government (1989), the Community Charge, or “poll tax” as it was dubbed by opponents. There was also legislation to separate purchasers and providers within the National Health Service (1990), opening up the service to a measure of competition for the first time and increasing the scope for effective management. All three measures were deeply controversial.

On November 1, 1990, Sir Geoffrey Howe took up his position, resigned and in a bitter resignation speech precipitated a challenge to Margaret Thatcher's leadership of her party. In the ballot that followed, she won a majority of the vote. Yet, under party rules, the margin was insufficient and a second ballot was required. Receiving the news at a conference in Paris, she immediately announced her intention to fight on.

But a political earthquake occurred the next day on her return to London, when many colleagues in her cabinet —doubting that she could win a fourth General Election — abruptly deserted her leadership and left her no choice but to withdraw. She resigned as prime minister on November 28, 1990. John Major succeeded her and served in the post until the landslide election of Tony Blair's Labour Government in May 1997.

Article: Margaret Thatcher
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The 1979–82 years were a test of fire in which Thatcher often felt beleaguered and her reliance on key advisers, some from outside the party-political world – always a feature of her premiership – grew. Her government was immeasurably aided in the period by Labour’s slow-motion implosion after 1979, which saw the veteran leftist intellectual (and surprisingly effective government “fixer” in 1976–79) Michael Foot elected to replace Callaghan but unable to prevent a schism that saw the leaders of Labour’s right (including Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams) create a new Social Democratic Party, or SDP, and form an alliance with the Liberal Party.

Into this mix of bleak economic news and emerging three-way politics irrupted Argentina’s military occupation of Britain’s half-forgotten sheep-farming colonial-era outpost in the south Atlantic, the Falkland Islands (or Malvinas). Any signals from Thatcher’s government over the longstanding diplomatic dispute with Buenos Aires had been encouraging of the ambitions of the brutal junta there, but this history was buried as the prime minister seized the armoury of a violated Britannia and – strongly backed by the passionate Foot, who had won his journalistic spurs denouncing domestic “appeasement” of Hitler in the 1930s – sent a naval force to recapture the territory.

An extended prelude followed by a concentrated campaign, with vital support from Ronald Reagan’s administration, brought victory in the Falklands in under three months. Thatcher’s men were swift to exploit the moment’s ebullient patriotism, aligning disparate forms of regeneration in a cocksure narrative that sought – via the supercharging of a classic Conservative trope – to identify the party with the nation, Labour with disloyalty, and (a new element) the female warrior-leader with something approaching Britain’s destiny.

The “iron lady” – a sobriquet first bestowed by the Soviet military mouthpiece Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) in 1976, and quickly appropriated by a delighted Thatcher – had already paraded intransigence over the costs of recession and the Irish Republican Army prisoners’ hunger strikes in Northern Ireland (though here too the 1981 papers suggest a more nuanced policy was pursued behind the scenes). In the Falklands, the name acquired a new, quasi-regal cast.

In June 1983, the Conservatives won a landslide election victory, with Labour – fighting on an unwieldy manifesto that one of its MPs called “the longest suicide note in history” – only just edging into second place ahead of the SDP–Liberal alliance. In its aftermath there were, as the increasingly martial argot of those times would have it, new battles to fight. The government had already limited the trade unions’ ability to call strikes and enforce a “closed shop.” But in 1981 it had also retreated from what it saw as inevitable confrontation with the National Union of Miners, a tactical sidestep as representative of her leadership as any ideological thrust. (The historian Robert Skidelsky describes Thatcher as “visionary in aim, cautious in method.”) By early 1984, after building up extensive coal stocks, it was readier to risk an open-ended dispute by announcing a series of mine closures.

The ensuing year-long strike, complicated by divisions among the miners (partly over the union leadership’s failure to hold a ballot to give the stoppage democratic sanction), was intensely bitter (and in a few cases fatal), and ended in the miners’ comprehensive defeat. The return to work was followed by staged closures that shrunk the once mighty industry and the miner’s union to near vanishing point. This “loss without limit” signalled the decline of many relatively isolated settlements created for and around a workplace whose inhabitants now had little or no prospects of alternative employment.

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Source: CBC News

n Margaret Thatcher's first year as Prime Minister the world's oil prices sky rocketed and the value of the British pound depreciated. The result of these two simultaneously economic crisis was that the first three years as Prime Minister, Thatcher, and, subsequently the Conservatives, were determined to stabilize the economy before Britain entered a recession. The concept that public expenditure was the cause of the difficulties meant that long-term solutions had to be found. In 1970 five million people within the United Kingdom had been below the national poverty line. 5 1980 was an exceptionally hard year on Britain, and especially on the working class. There were strikes, mass lay-offs and the closure of many factories. Within the span of one year unemployment had risen by 836,000. 6 Thatcher's reaction to the economic crisis that Britain was faced with was the first trade union bill with the United Kingdom that restricted picketing and defined tighter limits for the closed shop. 7 During the early 1980's the government was establishing alternative power sources to its previous reliance on fuel. When a dramatic supply and demand shift occurred, many miners and previously suppliers of Britain's key power source were concerned about the stability of their jobs and income. In 1984, the coal miners went on an eleven month strike. To Margaret Thatcher, a union strike was a threat of socialism, and was necessary to stamp out. The strike proved a costly endeavor for the government. However, once the Conservative Party had forcefully ended the strike the government was able to demonstrate to the whole Labour movement that nothing was to be allowed to stand in the way of restructuring industries to make them profitable and internationally competitive

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It was in Dartford too that she met her husband, Denis Thatcher, a local businessman who ran his family's firm before becoming an executive in the oil industry. They married in 1951. Twins — Mark and Carol —were born to the couple in 1953.

In the 1950s Margaret Thatcher trained as a lawyer, specialising in taxation. She was elected to Parliament in 1959 as Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley, a north London constituency, which she continued to represent until she was made a member of the House of Lords (as Baroness Thatcher) in 1992. Within two years, she was given junior office in the administration of Harold Macmillan and during 1964-70 (when the Conservatives were again in Opposition), established her place among the senior figures of the party, serving continuously as a shadow minister. When the Conservatives returned to office in 1970, under the premiership of Edward Heath, she achieved cabinet rank as Education Secretary.

Article: Biography
Source: Essential Margaret Thatch...

Her university years were during World War II, and she came to maturity with an unembarrassed, unabashed patriotism that never left her. The war, not the Depression, was her formative experience. She went up to Oxford University, where she studied chemistry, although without much conviction. Politics was what compelled her. She ended up president of the Oxford University Conservative Association (although she did not debate in the Oxford Union because women were not yet permitted to join). She had settled on politics as her career. In 1945, she went back to Grantham to campaign for the conservative candidate.... After graduating, she took a job as a research chemist in a plastics factory and then in the research department of the J. Lyons food company, testing cake fillings and ice creams. She had no great interest in being a scientist, but she was determined to support herself away from home. What she really wanted was to be adopted by a parliamentary constituency. She was given a constituency in the southeast of England that traditionally voted a strong Labor majority. She lost. No one had expected otherwise, and she was very pleased to have had her first shot at Parliament.

Article:   prof_margaretthatcher.pdf
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Returning for a third term in 1987, Thatcher sought to implement a standard educational curriculum across the nation and make changes to the country's socialized medical system. However, she lost a lot of support due to her efforts to implement a fixed rate local tax—labeled a poll tax by many since she sought to disenfranchise those who did not pay it. Hugely unpopular, this policy led to public protests and caused dissention within her party.

Thatcher initially pressed on for party leadership in 1990, but eventually yielded to pressure from party members and announced her intentions to resign on November 22, 1990. In a statement, she said, "Having consulted widely among colleagues,

I have concluded that the unity of the Party and the prospects of victory in a General Election would be better served if I stood down to enable Cabinet colleagues to enter the ballot for the leadership. I should like to thank all those in Cabinet and outside who have given me such dedicated support." On November 28, 1990, Thatcher departed from 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's official residence, for the last time.

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Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on 13 October 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the daughter of a grocer. She went to Oxford University and then became a research chemist, retraining to become a barrister in 1954. In 1951, she married Denis Thatcher, a wealthy businessman, with whom she had two children.

Early political career

Thatcher became a Conservative member of parliament for Finchley in North London in 1959, serving as its MP until 1992. Her first parliamentary post was junior minister for pensions in Harold Macmillan's government. From 1964 to 1970, when Labour were in power, she served in a number of positions in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet. Heath became prime minister in 1970 and Thatcher was appointed secretary for education.


After the Conservatives were defeated in 1974, Thatcher challenged Heath for the leadership of the party and, to the surprise of many, won. In the 1979 general election, the Conservatives came to power and Thatcher became prime minister.

She was an advocate of privatising state-owned industries and utilities, reforming trade unions, lowering taxes and reducing social expenditure across the board. Thatcher's policies succeeded in reducing inflation, but unemployment dramatically increased during her years in power.

Article: Margaret Thatcher
Source: BBC History
Nikita Sidana

Nikita Sidana

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Father: Alfred Roberts, grocer

Mother: Beatrice Ethel (Stephenson) Roberts, grocer


I t was in May 1979 that Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first female prime minister. She would be reelected in 1983 and again in 1987 to become the first British prime minister of the twentieth century to win three consecutive general elections. Thatcher served for eleven-and-a-half years until her resignation in November 1990...

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