William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) was born in Liverpool, the son of a rich merchant. In Peel's government he was president of the Board of Trade 1843-1845, and colonial secretary 1845-1846. He left the Tory Party with the Peelite group in 1846.
He was chancellor of the Exchequer in Aberdeen's government 1852-1855, and in the Liberal governments of Palmerston and Russell 1859-1866. In his first term as prime minister he carried through a series of important reforms, including the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, the Irish Land Act, and the abolition of the purchase of army commissions and of religious tests in the universities.
During Disraeli's government of 1874, Gladstone strongly resisted his imperialist and pro-Turkish policy, not least bec
ause of Turkish pogroms against subject Christians, and by his Midlothian campaign of 1879 helped to overthrow Disraeli.
Gladstone's second government carried the second Irish Land Act and the Reform Act in 1884 but was confronted with difficult problems in Ireland, Egypt, and South Africa, and lost prestige through its failure to relieve General Gordon.
Returning to office in 1886, Gladstone introduced his first Home Rule Bill, which was defeated by the secession of the Liberal Unionists, and he thereupon resigned.
After six years' opposition he formed his last government; his second Home Rule Bill was rejected by the Lords, and in 1894 he resigned. He led a final crusade against the massacre of Armenian Christians in 1896.
Why is William Ewart Gladstone famous?
William Ewart Gladstone was a British Liberal politician.