Randolph Churchill

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Randolph Churchill

Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill (born February 13, 1849 in Blenheim Palace , Woodstock , Oxfordshire , † January 24, 1895 in London ) was a British conservative politician in the 19th century . He was one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party and was temporarily State Secretary for India and Chancellor of the Exchequer . He was the father of Winston Churchill .


Origin and family

As the younger son of John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough , he held the courtesy title of Lord , but did not belong to the peer class and therefore sought a career in the House of Commons . As a member of the Tory Party, he was elected to parliament for the Woodstock constituency in 1874 . In June of the same year he married the American millionaire daughter Jennie Jerome , her father was the punter Leonard Jerome , who was nicknamed " The King of Wall Street ". They had two sons, the older of the two being the future Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and the younger John Strange Spencer-Churchill . In favor of his older brother, he tried in 1876 in the course of the Aylesford affair to blackmail the English heir to the throne Edward, Prince of Wales . This then demanded Randolph Churchill for an apology or a duel, whereupon Randolph reluctantly apologized and went to Ireland for a few years.

Advancement in the Conservative Party

"The Fourth Party"
Spencer-Churchill, Balfour, Drummond-Wolff and Gorst - caricature by Spy ( Leslie Ward ) in Vanity Fair , December 1880

Lord Randolph did not become known to a wider public until 1878 when he violently attacked the old Tory guard in the House of Commons. He also distinguished himself as an independent conservative in the new parliament elected in 1880 and criticized Gladstone's liberal government as harshly as members of his own party. The group of young, progressive conservatives to which he belonged soon came to be known as the "fourth party". He formulated their program, which became known under the catchphrase "Tory Democracy". It stipulated that the conservatives should support the reforms needed to achieve more democracy instead of - as was the rule until then - to slow them down. Lord Randolph argued that this was the only way for the party to gain a mass base similar to that of the ruling liberals. In order to increase the influence of the party base over the parliamentary leadership under Lord Salisbury and to win new conservative electorate for the party, Churchill founded the Primrose League in 1883 .

In 1884 this trend prevailed in the party, and Lord Randolph was elected chairman against the opposition of the House of Commons. He was now one of the leading figures of the Conservatives and was considered a promising future candidate for the office of Prime Minister . In 1885 he was instrumental in the overthrow of Gladstone and took over in the first cabinet of the new conservative prime minister , Lord Salisbury , the Office of the Secretary of State for India, that was Minister in Cabinet rank . After Gladstone's third term of office from February to August 1886, which lasted only a few months, he rose to the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer in the second Salisbury cabinet. H. to finance minister and majority leader of the lower house .


But already on December 20 of the same year, Lord Randolph's career ended abruptly when he promoted himself into political sideline: due to disagreements with his own government, he announced his resignation as Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was probably out of the calculation that as an influential party strategist he should be recalled immediately on his terms. Instead, Salisbury quickly replaced its ambitious rival with Lord Goschen . This also ended his career as party leader. Whenever a cabinet member resigned from government in the years that followed, Lord Randolph was run as a candidate for ministerial but failed to return to power. He remained a simple member of parliament.

At the beginning of the 1890s, his health also deteriorated. A stay of several years in South Africa did not bring any improvement. His last appearances in the House of Commons in 1894 made his syphilis- induced physical decline evident. In the fall of 1894 he went on a trip around the world, from which he hoped to recover; but he had to turn back in Cairo. He died a few weeks after returning to the UK.


Web links

Commons : Randolph Churchill  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files