Statesmen

Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader
1910-1982
British fighter pilot.

He lost both legs in a flying accident in 1931, but had a distinguished flying career in World War II. He was credited with 22 1/2 planes shot down (20 on his own and some jointly) before himself being shot down and captured in August 1941.
He was twice decorated for his war service and was knighted in 1976 for his work with disabled people.

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Sir Francis Beaufort
1744 - 1858

Rear-Admiral, Sir Francis Beaufort, Knight Commander of the Bath, was born in Ireland in 1744. He entered the Royal Navy at the age of 13 and was a midshipman aboard the Aquilon. Beaufort is said to have had an illustrious career on the seas and by 1800 had risen to the rank of Commander. In the summer of 1805 Commander Beaufort was appointed to the command of the Woolwich, a 44 gun man-of-war. It was at this time that he devised his wind force scale. By 1838 the Beaufort wind force scale was made mandatory for log entries in all ships of the Royal Navy. Beaufort last served as Hydrographer to the Admiralty. He died in 1858 two years after his retirement.

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Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill
1874 - 1965
English Statesman

Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, the elder son of Lord Randolph Churchill. Educated at Harrow and Sandhurst, he joined the army in 1895. In the dual role of soldier and military correspondent he served in the Spanish-American War in Cuba, and then in India, Egypt, and South Africa, where he made a dramatic escape from imprisonment in Pretoria.

A British Conservative politician, prime minister from 1940-45 and 1951-55. In Parliament from 1900, as a Liberal until 1923, he held a number of ministerial offices, including First Lord of the Admiralty, 1911-15 and chancellor of the Exchequer, 1924-29. Absent from the cabinet in the 1930's, he returned in Sept 1939 to lead a coalition government from 1940-45, negotiating with Allied leaders in World War II to achieve the unconditional surrender of Germany in 1945; he led a Conservative government from 1951-55. Churchill received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. He was a member of Parliament for more than 60 years and tried to prevent the dissolution of the British Empire, but his fierce opposition to the ambitions of Nazi Germany transformed him into a war leader, who personified resistance to tyranny. Churchill played a considerable role in the eventual allied victory over Germany.

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Oliver Cromwell
1599 - 1658
English Statesman
Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire. He studied at Cambridge, and in 1628 he was first elected to Parliament.

Cromwell opposed the absolute power of the crown, and when war broke out he became a military organizer for the Parliamentary forces. Realizing the inferior quality of the rebel troops, he organized a 'godly' regiment - the 'Ironsides'. The Ironsides were men of strong convictions who fought with religious enthusiasm.

After the Civil War and the execution of king Charles I, Cromwell became first chairman of the the new republic. He suppressed an insurrection in Ireland (1650) with a severity remembered by the Irish Catholics with bitterness. In the same year he defeated a Royalist army in Scotland, and he fought the Dutch in several naval battles.

In 1653 Cromwell dissolved Parliament and he became Lord protector of the new puritanical republic. As Lord protector he concluded the Anglo-Dutch War, sent an expeditionary force to the Spanish West Indies and destroyed the Spanish fleet at Teneriffe.

In the fall of 1658 Cromwell died, and England fell away from his attempt to realize a puritanical commonwealth of free men.

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Benjamin Disraeli
1804 -1881
British Statesman
Disraeli was born in London, son of an Anglicized Jew, baptized in 1817. He made his early reputation as a novelist, and later became leader of the 'Young England' movement. He opposed Peel's free trade policies, especially after the later repealed the Corn Laws in order to relieve the famine in Ireland.

Leader of the Conservatives, after Peel's followers left the Party, Disraeli became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Derby's minority governments. He became prime minister on Derby's resignation in 1868, but was defeated soon afterwards in the general election.

For seventeen years public attention was concentrated on the rivalry between Disraeli and the Liberal leader Gladstone when the nation was governed by these two men. Generally, Disraeli supported reform at home and imperialism abroad.

During his 2nd administration (1874--80) Britain became half-owner of the Suez Canal, and the queen assumed the title Empress of India (1876). Disraeli's diplomacy at the Congress of Berlin (1878) helped to preserve European peace after the conflict between Russia and Turkey in the Balkans. Defeated in 1880 by Gladstone and the Liberals, he then retired.

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William Laud
1573 -1645
English priest; archbishop of Canterbury from 1633.

Laud's High Church policy, support for Charles I's unparliamentary rule, censorship of the press, and persecution of the Puritans all aroused bitter opposition, while his strict enforcement of the statutes against enclosures and of laws regulating wages and prices alienated the propertied classes. His attempt to impose the use of the Prayer Book on the Scots precipitated the English Civil War. Impeached by Parliament 1640, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, summarily condemned to death, and beheaded.

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John Locke
1632 - 1704
English Philosopher

Locke was born in Wrington, Somerset, SW England. He studied at Oxford, and in 1667 he became am adviser to Lord Ashley, later first Earl of Shaftesbury. He retired to France, but after Shaftesbury's death in 1683 he fled to Holland, returning to England in 1689, where he became commissioner of appeals until 1704.

Locke's philosophical and political theories widely influenced the thinkers of his day, and are still considered important. To secure the personal liberties of the citizens Locke provided the theoretical justification for the separations of the powers of the state into legislative and executive branches.

In his major philosphical work 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding', he accepted the possibility of rational demonstration of moral principles and the existence of God, but he insisted that all beliefs depend for their justification ultimately upon experience - a doctrine that was the real starting point of British Empiricism.

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Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson
1758 -1805
British naval commander

Nelson was born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, on September 29, 1758

Nelson's services to the British nation were contributed in the course of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson was made a commodore in 1796. During the Battle of the Nile, on August 1-2, 1798, he destroyed most of the French vessels; the victory cut Napoleon's line of communication with France and eventually was responsible for his withdrawal from the Middle East in spite of his military victories there. In 1801 Nelson became a vice

Nelson was in England at the time of the Treaty of Amiens (1802-03), which temporarily ended the fighting between England and France. When war broke out again in 1803 he was appointed commander of the British Mediterranean fleet. In the Battle of Trafalgar, on October 21, 1805, Nelson overwhelmingly defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets, leading the attack himself in his flagship Victory. The British victory put an end to Napoleon's plans for invading England.

Nelson is regarded as the most famous of all British naval leaders and as one of the most noteworthy in world history. He was buried in Saint Paul's Cathedral. In November 1805, in recognition of his services, his brother William Nelson was made Earl Nelson of Trafalgar. In 1849 a monument known as the Nelson Column was erected to Admiral Nelson in Trafalgar Square, London.

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Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
1769 -1852
British general and prime minister (1828-30 and 1834)

Wellesley was born in Dublin, Ireland on May 1, 1769. He was commissioned as ensign in the British army in 1787 and was elected to the Irish parliament in 1790. In 1796 Wellesley, now holding the rank of colonel in the army, went to India, where he subsequently received his first independent command. Arthur took part in several military campaigns; in the Battle of Assaye in 1803, he subdued the Marathas, then the dominant people of India. Returning to England in 1805 he was rewarded with a knighthood and with election to the British Parliament.

Wellesley was involved in the struggle against Napoleon. He took part in military campaigns against France and its allies in Hannover (1805-6) and in Denmark (1807). In 1808 he was given command of the British expeditionary forces in Portugal, where in 1810 he first made use of his famous military tactic known as the scorched-earth policy, laying waste to the countryside behind him as he and his troops moved on. In the ensuing Peninsular War (1808-14), which resulted in the expulsion of Napoleon's armies from Portugal and Spain, Wellesley's troops won a series of victories, especially at Talavera de la Reina (1809), Salamanca (1812), Vitoria (1813), and Toulouse (1814). His success in Spain won him many honors and large estates and cash awards. In 1814 he was created 1st duke of Wellington.

On June 18, 1815, Wellington, with the help of the Prussians decisively defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.

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