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.
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
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
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.