People Who Kick Buts: Benjamin Disraeli
Action may not always bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.
- Born on December 21, 1804; passed away on April 19, 1881.
- A British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure.
- Although his father had him baptised to Anglicanism at age 12, he was nonetheless Britain’s first and thus far only Prime Minister who was born into a Jewish family—originally from Italy.
- Before and during his political career, Disraeli was well known as a literary and social figure, although his novels are not generally regarded as a part of the Victorian literary canon. He mainly wrote romances, of which Sybil and Vivian Grey are perhaps the best-known today. He is exceptional among British Prime Ministers for having gained equal social and political renown.
- His father groomed him for a career in law, and Disraeli was articled to a solicitor in 1821. In 1824, Disraeli toured Belgium and the Rhine Valley with his father and later wrote that it was while travelling on the Rhine that he decided to abandon the law: “I determined when descending those magical waters that I would not be a lawyer.”
- Disraeli was elevated to the House of Lords in 1876 when Queen Victoria made him Earl of Beaconsfield and Viscount Hughenden.
- In the general election of 1880 Disraeli’s Conservatives were defeated by Gladstone’s Liberals, in large part owing to the uneven course of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Irish Home Rule vote in England contributed to his party’s defeat. Disraeli became ill soon after and died in April 1881.