Margaret Thatcher is the second daughter of a grocer and a dressmaker. Her full name was Margaret Hilda Roberts. She was born on October 13, 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England. She was educated at Somerville College and at Oxford University Conservation Association. She got a Master of Arts degree in 1950 from Oxford and briefly worked as a research chemist. Margaret unsuccessfully ran for parliament in 1950.
After that she married Dennis Thatcher, a paint firm director. Following her marriage she read for the bar and specialized in tax law. In her second attempt at running for office in 1959, she received a seat in parliament. She soon became prominent among other politicians. She became joint parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance from 1961 to 1964, then as secretary of state for education and science under Prime Minister Edmund Heath from 1970 to 1974. She was unpopular at times, but after the Conservative Party lost 2 general elections in 1974, she succeeded Heath as party leader.
Thatcher became Prime Minister of England in 1979. She limited government control and gave individuals more independence. During her first two terms, though, there were more unemployed citizens, poor people, and bankruptcies. She had strict control over the government, and earned the nickname Iron Lady.
During her third term, Margaret supported education, health care, housing to private control, and the campaign to keep northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. In 1984, terrorist bombers almost succeeded in killing Thatcher and some of her associates. The bombing was work of the Irish Army. They were devoted to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. In 1990, when a split within the Conservative Party was costing Thatcher political support, she resigned from office. During her tenure as Prime Minister, though, she was the first to do many important things, and tried her best to make sure British government was fair.
It took her a while to get used to not making her own decisions for the country.
In 1990, Thatcher was awarded The Order of Merit by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. She was moved up to the house of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven in 1992, and in 1995 she became a member of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. After resigning as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher wrote two volumes, The Downing Street Years (1993) and The Path to Power (1995).
The Gale Group, Inc. "Margaret Thatcher." <http://www.galegroup.com/policy.htm> (2003).
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