Politics

Margaret Thatcher

Credits: Margaret Thatcher Foundation / CC BY-SA 3.0

Margaret Thatcher Biography

Margaret Thatcher (October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013) her real name was Margaret Hilda Roberts. A British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990, and first female head of government. Margaret was born in Grantham, East Midlands, England. Her father was the owner of two grocery stores. Besides, he was an enterprising and religious man, who instilled in his home the Methodist religion. When Margaret finished her school studies, she won a scholarship to study chemical sciences at the University of Oxford. When she finished, she devoted herself to research for four years.

Upon meeting her future husband, Denis Thatcher, a senior oil industry executive who was divorced at the time, and with whom she would get married in December 1951 and years later would have Carol and Mark Thatcher, Margaret’s interest in politics and politics rose. She began studying tax law in 1953. After graduating and with the help of her husband who was immersed in the world of politics, she would join the Conservative Party. After a period, and due to her hard-working reputation, she was elected deputy of the House of Commons in 1959.

Two years later, she would hold the position of Secretary of State for Social Affairs. Then, Minister of Education and Scientific Affairs (1970-1974) in the Edward Heath cabinet, some of her guidelines generated strong rejection in civil society. For instance, the prohibition of free milk in schools. Despite the refusals, she managed to keep the leadership of Heath’s conservative cabinet by winning the party elections.

This event was amazing because she became the first woman to lead one of the influential political parties in Britain. In the general elections of 1979, she was elected as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In this period, she promoted a program which purposed to regulate the intervention of the State and the social policy, to renegotiate the participation of the United Kingdom in the European Economic Community (EEC) and to abolish the labor union power. In addition, Thatcher promised to reverse the economic decline of the United Kingdom and to achieve a higher level of influence and leadership in international relations.

In her period as Prime Minister, she led the Conservatives to electoral victory, made efforts to reduce the crisis of the British economy and reduce government interventionism. Also, she was involved in the war of the Falklands and the seizure and annexation of the Malvinas Islands to the British territory to the detriment of the aspirations of the Argentine nation in 1982. In the general elections of June 1983, Thatcher led the Conservative Party to a resounding victory.

Her policies were rejected by many sectors, which caused threatening against her. In October 1984, she suffered an attack in which Irish Republican extremists installed a bomb in a hotel in Brighton where she was present with members of her party, four people died, but she managed to escape unharmed. This terrorist attack was directly related to the conflict between England and Northern Ireland.

In 1987, she would become the first British head of government of the twentieth century, to be re-elected for one more period. She was very influential in the unilateral nuclear disarmament. During her third term, an education system for unemployed adults was created, copied from the United States; with this election, Margaret held power for three consecutive terms. However, at the end of the third term, she made the decision not to be a candidate again and end her political participation. Making it official on November 22, 1990, before the Council of Ministers. Margaret made that decision due to the internal quarrels within the party and the division of the same. She resigned, and John Major would take over Margaret’s position as the leader of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister. Later, in 1992, Margaret Thatcher received the noble title of Baroness Thatcher granted by the House of Lords.

Margaret Thatcher suffered from senile dementia for several years of her life. She died on April 8, 2013, after suffering a stroke in a luxurious room at the exclusive Ritz hotel in London, to which she had moved after an operation. Hundreds of people attended the funeral that took place on April 17 in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Her death was not a reason for her ideas and her strong personality, summarized in the term ‘Thatcherism’, to be forgotten.

Her political activity, although strongly questioned, was decisive in British history in the second half of the twentieth century and still cause arguments in her country. For that reason, she was known by the nickname of “The iron lady”.

After her death, the British deputies paid tribute to the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in an external session extraordinary of the House of Commons. The statement of the conservative David Cameron, and the leader of the Labor opposition, Ed Miliband, was presented. In short, the intervention by the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The homage in the House of Commons lasted seven hours.

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