October 19, 2021
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, PC, FRS, FRIC (Grantham, 13 October 1925 — London, 8 April 2013) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of 1979 to 1990 and leader of the Opposition between 1975 and 1979. She was the longest-serving prime minister during the 20th century and the first woman to hold it. Thatcher was also known by the nickname "Iron Lady", given by a Soviet journalist and associated with her leadership style. As prime minister, she implemented policies that came to be known as Thatcherism. Graduated in Chemistry from Somerville College, Oxford University, Thatcher also served as a barrister before being elected to the House of Commons for the Finchley district in 1959. Prime Minister Edward Heath named her his secretary of state for education and science in its conservative government. In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election, becoming the leader of the Opposition as well as the first woman to lead a major political party in the UK. After winning the 1979 elections, she was sworn in as prime minister. Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives aimed at reversing the country's high unemployment and difficulties in the wake of a recession. Its political philosophy and economic policies emphasized deregulation (particularly in the financial sector), flexible labor markets, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and the reduction of union power and influence. Thatcher's popularity during her first years in office waned amid the recession and rising unemployment, until her victory in the Falklands War in 1982 and the recovery of the economy, which saw her popular support resurface and be decisively re-elected in 1983. 1984, survived an assassination attempt. Thatcher was re-elected in 1987. In her third term, her support for a community tax was largely unpopular, and her views on the European Community were not shared by other members of her cabinet. In November 1990, after her Conservative Party leadership was challenged, she resigned as prime minister. After retiring from the House of Commons in 1992, she was given a lifetime peer as Baroness Thatcher (of Kesteven in Lincolnshire), a title that guaranteed her a seat in the House of Lords. In 2013, she died of a stroke at age 87. Always a controversial figure, Thatcher received high rankings in polls of the best and most influential rulers in the country's history, even though arguments about Thatcherism persist.