Robert Walpole

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The Rt Hon. Sir Robert Walpole
Jean-Baptiste van Loo - Robert Walpole.jpg
Prime Minister of Great Britain
In office
4 April 1721 – 11 February 1742
Preceded byOffice Created
Succeeded byThe Earl of Wilmington
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
12 October 1715 – 15 April 1717
3 April 1721-12 February 1742
Preceded byRichard Onslow
John Pratt
Succeeded byJames Stanhope
Samuel Sandys
Personal details
Born(1676-08-26)26 August 1676
Houghton, Norfolk
Died18 March 1745(1745-03-18) (aged 68)
Political partyWhig

Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford was a British politician. He is regarded by many as the first de facto Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (then called Great Britain). The position of prime minister was not actually official at that time.

Walpole He was born in Houghton, Norfolk on 26 August 1676. He died on 18 March 1745. Historians think he became England's first Prime Minister in 1721. He was then Prime Minister for a longer time than anyone who came after him.[1] This long time is sometimes called "the robinocracy" (Robin is a common version of Robert).

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford by Arthur Pond.jpg

Although the exact dates of Walpole's dominance are not entirely clear, the period 1721–1742 is often used. He dominated the Walpole–Townshend ministry, as well as the subsequent Walpole ministry, and holds the record as the longest-serving British prime minister in history.

W.A. Speck wrote that Walpole's uninterrupted run of 20 years as Prime Minister "is rightly regarded as one of the major feats of British political history... Explanations are usually offered in terms of his expert handling of the political system after 1720, [and] his unique blending of the surviving powers of the crown with the increasing influence of the Commons".[2]

References[change | change source]

  2. Speck W.A. 1977. Stability and strife: England 1714–1760, p203.