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A New Look at Benjamin Disraeli | The Russell Kirk Center

The founder of the modern British Conservative party has been described as an adventurer, a charlatan, a clever rogue and a perspicacious politician. These different characterizations have all had their ardent supporters as Benjamin Disraeli rarely inspired indifference from his contemporaries or later commentators. This new lively study sheds light on Disraeli's controversial life and ambiguous political legacy, providing a portrait of one of the great personalities of the age and the leader of the key political movement of Victorian Britain.

Before becoming Prime Minister in , Disraeli was an exotic, dandified figure. He was a novelist who escaped his creditors, and launched a political career, with his election to a seat in the House of Commons.

Political beginnings

He showed in his political life a writer's command of the potent image and pregnant phrase. A one-of-a-kind figure in Westminster politics, he was a favorite of monarchs but distrusted or disliked by most of the members of his own party. However, his speeches and writings remain memorable and influential and he has become an iconic figure to a diverse group of modern-day conservatives. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is a most elegantly written and intellectually engrossing study of a major figure of natural interest. Convert currency. Add to Basket.

Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. An adventurer and charlatan?

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A clever rogue? Or perspicacious politician, founder of the modern British Conservative party? These different characterizations have all had their supporters: Disraeli rarely inspired indifference from his contemporaries, and later commentators have often mirrored these divergent evaluations.

By the time he at last became Prime Minister, in , he was no longer the exotic, dandified figure who nearly forty years earlier had obtained protection from his creditors by the simple expedient of election to a seat in the House of Commons. But he was still a one-of-a-kind figure in Westminster politics, favorite of his monarch but distrusted or disliked by most of the members of his party.

Disraeli was a novelist as well as a politician, and he showed in his political life a novelist's command of the potent image and pregnant phrase. Queen Victoria took a liking to Disraeli, and Disraeli, for his part, knew how to flatter and accommodate the queen. Their relationship was generally very friendly, a sharp contrast to Victoria's relationship with Gladstone, whom she detested.

Disraeli developed the habit of writing letters to Victoria describing political events in novelistic terms. The queen greatly appreciated the letters, telling someone she had "never had such letters in her life.


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He would later flatter the queen by occasionally prefacing remarks with, "We authors, Ma'am During his second term as prime minister, Disraeli seized the chance to buy a controlling interest in the Suez Canal. And he generally stood for an expansive and imperial foreign policy, which tended to be popular at home. Disraeli also convinced Parliament to bestow the title "Empress of India" upon Queen Victoria, which pleased the queen greatly, as she was fascinated by The Raj. In , Victoria bestowed upon the Disraeli the title of Lord Beaconsfield, which meant he could move from the House of Commons to the House of Lords.

Disraeli continued to serve as prime minister until , when an election returned the Liberal Party, and its leader, Gladstone, to power. Depressed and disheartened by the electoral defeat, Disraeli took ill and died April 19, Queen Victoria, it was reported, was "heartbroken" at the news. Share Flipboard Email. Robert J.

Disraeli discussed by Douglas Hurd and Edward Young

McNamara is a history expert who has been writing for ThoughtCo since He previously served as Amazon. This new lively study sheds light on Disraeli's controversial life and ambiguous political legacy, providing a portrait of one of the great personalities of the age and the leader of the key political movement of Victorian Britain.

Before becoming Prime Minister in , Disraeli was an exotic, dandified figure. He was a novelist who escaped his creditors, and launched a political career, with his election to a seat in the House of Commons.

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

He showed in his political life a writer's command of the potent image and pregnant phrase. A one-of-a-kind figure in Westminster politics, he was a favorite of monarchs but distrusted or disliked by most of the members of his own party. However, his speeches and writings remain memorable and influential and he has become an iconic figure to a diverse group of modern-day conservatives. Get A Copy.


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Paperback , pages. Published April 28th by Bloomsbury Academic first published More Details Original Title. Benjamin Disraeli. Other Editions 1.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

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