Margaret Thatcher

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Margaret Hilda Thatcher is the first woman to have held the office of prime minister in Great Britain. She was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire and educated at the University of Oxford, where she earned degrees in chemistry. After graduation she worked as a research chemist from 1947 to 1951. She married Denis Thatcher in 1951, and in 1953, having studied for the bar, she became a tax lawyer. Thatcher joined the Conservative party, and was elected to the House of Commons in 1959. She defeated Edward Heath for the minority leadership of the party in 1974, and then led the Conservative party to victory in 1979. Thatcher is the only British prime minister in the twentieth century to serve three consecutive terms. In 1990, controversy over Thatcher's tax policy and her reluctance to commit Great Britain to full economic integration with Europe inspired a strong challenge to her leadership. Ms. Thatcher was ousted from leadership, and resigned in November 1990 and was succeeded as party leader and prime minister by her protégée, John Major: who, consequently, only served one short term.

	Margaret Hilda Roberts was born October 13, 1925 to Beatrice and Alfred Roberts in the flat above her parents small grocery store. Margaret's father was the greatest influence in Margaret's life, politically as well as religiously and socially. Alfred Roberts came to Grantham during the First World War where he met and married Beatrice Stevenson. "The young couple worked hard and saved money with a passion. Before long Alfred opened his own grocery shop, and eventually he came to own two." (Mayer,1979) Alfred often discussed current events with his two daughters, and also his keenly-held political beliefs. Margaret's father had a considerable effect on her political beliefs. Although he had once been a member of the Liberal party, he won a place on the local town council as an independent, which essentially meant conservative. He served in this position for twenty-five years, and later became the chair of its finance committee. "In the 1940's, he was selected for the largely honorary but still prestigious post of Mayor of Grantham." (Mayer, 1979) When asked about the part her father had played in her life Margaret replied that "of course, I just owe almost everything to my . . . father, and the things...

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... selected as the shadow cabinet's minister of power, "eighteen months later, she got the transport portfolio, and a year after that she got education." " (Mayer, 1979) According to Mrs. Thatcher's biographer Allen Mayer, the reasons for her rapid rise are not immediately discernable. Tory journalist Ferdinand Mount has suggested that she might be regarded as the Evita of the Tory party. Mrs. Thatcher, he wrote recently moved up so quickly not despite but because of her sex. It was not so much her own brilliance as the chronic shortage of Conservative women MPs that insured her rapid promotion." (Mayer, 1979) But according to one of Mrs. Thatcher's speaches given at the time to

References

	Lewis, R. (1975). Margaret Thatcher: A personal and Political Biography. Southampton: The Camelot Press Ltd..

	Mayer, A. (1979). Madam Prime Minister: Margaret Thatcher and her Rise to Power. New York: Newsweek Books.

	Minogue, K. & Biddiss, M (1987). Thatcherism: Personality and Politics. New York: S. Martin's Press, Inc..

Thatcher, M. (1995). The Path to Power. New York: Harper Collins.

Young, H. (1989). The Iron Lady. London: Macmillan.

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