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Margaret Thatcher

In the early 1980s, a conservative political wave swept across America with the election of Ronald Reagan, who is considered the quintessential conservative politician by many Americans both liberal and conservative alike. He was loved by many and hated by some, and he an important role in the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and most of all, he held strong conservative economic policies. For example, he favored less tax increases, he didn't agree with socialized healthcare and he was against the welfare state. But around this same time across the ocean in the United Kingdom, one particular female was making her own mark in her nation as the first female prime minister, and she was Margaret Thatcher.

Like Reagan, Margaret Thatcher was a social and fiscal conservative and she too had both enemies and friends. She was also a skilled diplomat who handled foreign policy issues with grace, courage and the commitment to the good of her country.

Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher was born in 1925 in Grantham, England. She grew up in a conservative household where her father was a local councilor in Grantham and he would discuss politics with her every day. He also ran a grocery store and the family lived in a flat right above the store.

As a child Margaret Thatcher excelled in school and enjoyed swimming, piano playing and field hockey. As a young adult she studied chemistry at Oxford University but she never lost her interest in politics, and she became the president of the Student Conservative Association. What's interesting here is while Margaret held to conservative politics, she managed to carve out a career path which would have been considered non-traditional in post-war Britain.

This was the case when her mid-20s, she became the youngest female to run as a Conservative party candidate for the borough of Dartford in 1950 and 1951. It was also during this time that she met and married Denis Thatcher, a local businessman who later became an oil executive.

The couple had twins named Mark and Carol. In the 1950s, Margaret trained as a lawyer who specialized in taxation, and this training would help her in later decades when she becomes the Prime Minister of Great Britain. In 1959, she was elected as a member of the Parliament and she represented Finchley, a suburb in north London. She remained in this position until 1970, when she became the Education Secretary. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

One of Margaret's primary goals was to reduce government spending as she strongly believed in limited government, which is something she had in common with Ronald Reagan. She also wanted to rejuvenate Britain as a chief world power and key player in foreign policy.

Margaret Thatcher increased interest rates, which led to a slow in the growth of money supply and therefore reduced inflation. The strategy worked and by 1982, the inflation dropped to 8-percent from a high 18-percent within three years. Another important milestone in her premiership was the Falklands War with Argentina in 1982.

It was the result of a centuries-old conflict over which nation had claim to this territory. The war started when the Argentine junta invaded the Falklands, and when the British learned of this, Margaret Thatcher sent troops there to fight off the junta. Finally, Argentina surrendered and the British reclaimed the Falklands.

During her second term, Margaret Thatcher took on the National Union of Mineworkers in her battle to end excessive influence of trade unions on governmental policies. When the National Coal Board announced they were going to close some mines down, this led to a year-long strike from the miners. In the end, Margaret didn't give in to union interests.

Overall, Margaret Thatcher was an exceptional woman who acted out her beliefs by incorporating them into her policies. On the other hand, her premiership also included difficult political challenges as seen in the battle with the trade unions and war in the Falklands. Finally, Margaret Thatcher is proof that a woman can successfully lead a powerful nation not just for four years but in her case, 11 years.

There is a secret you don't know …

Besides the factual Margaret Thatcher biography presented above there is a huge secret that even the cell phone hacking British media don't know about. And that secret is that Margaret Thatcher once was a Hollywood butt-double for both Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt.


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