Born on 8th of July 1836
Died on 2nd of July 1914
Quotes from Joseph Chamberlain
'You cannot teach old dogs new '... More
Joseph Chamberlain went from radical reformer to staunch imperialist in the course of a political life crammed with both achievements and great failures. He is remembered in Birmingham for the great improvements he brought to the city to the benefit of its people.
Joseph Chamberlain was born in Camberwell on July 8, 1836. Aged 16 he began his career as an apprentice before moving to Birmingham where he worked in his uncle’s screw manufacturing company, contributing to its success.
In 1869 Chamberlain became a member of Birmingham City Council, showing his capabilities by pressing forward with reforms aimed at improving the lot of industrial workers in the city. In 1873 his election as Mayor of Birmingham allowed him even greater scope and he acquired land and public utilities for the city. Chamberlain’s ‘gas and water socialism’ transformed Birmingham: his reforms included new houses for the poor; parks; improved roads; schools; and museums.
In June 1876 Chamberlain was elected MP for Birmingham. A member of the Liberal party he worked to unite a reforming opposition and helped get Gladstone elected. In 1880 Chamberlain was appointed President of the Board of Trade. He fell out with Gladstone over Ireland, however, resigning in 1886 to form his own party, the Liberal Unionists, opposed to Irish Home Rule.
In 1895 Chamberlain was made Colonial Secretary, in which post he worked to strengthen the British Empire against perceived threats from European rivals. The Boer War resulted in part from his aggressive stance, Dutch settlers opposing his policies in South Africa. Chamberlain’s campaign for ‘Imperial Preference’ in opposition to free trade in 1903 split the Conservatives and led to a Liberal landslide in the 1906 election. Chamberlain’s stroke at the same time led to him quitting public office. He died on July 2, 1914.
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