Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Margaret Thatcher (1925-Present)

A woman with high standards and a short temper, Margaret Thatcher was not known as Britain's Iron Lady for nothing. After becoming both a chemist and a barrister and having two children, in 1959 Thatcher saw her long-held political ambitions realized when she became a Member of Parliament in the Conservative Party. Twenty years later, she found herself the Prime Minister. Serving from 1979 to 1990, she was Europe's first female Prime Minister and the only British Prime Minister to serve three consecutive terms, giving her the longest stay in office since 1827. In her 11 years at the top, she advocated for the privatization of state enterprises and industries and lower taxes, took on the trade unions and reduced social expenditures across the board. Thatcher worked, against a fair amount of resistance, to turn Britain into a more entrepreneurial, free-market economy, and is credited along with her conservative partner across the Atlantic, President Ronald Reagan, with helping hasten the demise of the Soviet Union.