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Thatcher's home and early life Margaret Thatcher (Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, nee Roberts) was born on October 13th 1925 in Grantham to Alfred and Beatrice Roberts. The Roberts family ran a grocery business, bringing up two daughters in a flat over the shop. Margaret Thatcher's home and early life in Grantham played a large part in forming her political convictions. Her parents were Methodists and her father was a local counselor.

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Education Margaret Roberts attended Huntingtower Road Primary School and won a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School. From there she won a place at Oxford, where she studied chemistry at Somerville College (1943-47). Her tutor was Dorothy Hodgkin, a pioneer of X-ray crystallography who won a Nobel Prize in1964.

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Margaret with her father, mother and sister.

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In 1949, two years after receiving her chemistry degree from Oxford, she ran for office, becoming Britain's youngest female politician. (She was a conservative candidate in the constituency of Dartford.) She lost.

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The beginning of a political career After graduating, she moved to Colchester in Essex to work as a research chemist. She joined the local Conservative Association. In her mid-twenties she ran as the Conservative candidate for the strong Labor seat of Dartford (1950 and 1951), winning national publicity as the youngest woman candidate in the country. She lost both times, but cut the Labor majority sharply.

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Margaret Roberts, 26, at her wedding to 36-year-old wealthy oil executive Denis Thatcher at Wesley's Chapel, in London. Dec. 13, 1951

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Marriage and Motherhood In Dartford she met Denis Thatcher, a successful and wealthy businessman, whom she married in December 1951. Denis funded his wife's studies for the bar; she qualified as a barrister in 1953 and specialized in taxation. The same year her twins, Carol and Mark, were born.

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Secretary of State for Education and Science Margaret Thatcher was elected to Parliament in 1959 as Member of Parliament for Finchley, a north London constituency, which she continued to represent until she was made a member of the House of Lords (as Baroness Thatcher) in 1992. The Conservative party under Edward Heath won the 1970 general election, and Thatcher was subsequently appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science.

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Margaret Thatcher with her twin children Mark and Carol - 1959

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Margaret Thatcher, 49, in her Chelsea home kitchen, before making her challenge for the Conservative Party leadership and a place in political history.

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Margaret Thatcher in her London apartment in January of 1973.

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Margaret and Denis Thatcher with their children, Mark and Carol, at their Chelsea home on the day of their silver wedding anniversary.

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The Conservatives won a majority in the House of Commons, and Margaret Thatcher became the UK's first female Prime Minister.

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If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman. Margaret Thatcher

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1979-1983: Prime minister – First Term The new government pledged to check and reverse Britain's economic decline. Direct taxes were cut, indirect taxes were increased. By the end of Thatcher's first term, unemployment in Britain was more than three million and it began to fall only in 1986. Inflation was checked and the government created the expectation that it would do whatever was necessary to keep it low.

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The Falklands War The cover of Newsweek magazine, April 19, 1982, depicts HMS Hermes, flagship of the British Task Force. Political support flowed from this achievement, but the re-election of the government was only made certain by the Falklands War. The Argentine Junta's invasion of the islands in 1982 was met by Thatcher in the firmest way. Although she worked with the US administration in pursuing the possibility of a diplomatic solution. When diplomacy failed, military action was successful and the Falklands were back under British control by 1982.

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1983-1987: Prime minister – Second Term The economy continued to improve during the 1983-87 Parliament and the policy of economic liberalization was extended. The government began to pursue a policy of selling state assets. The British privatizations of the 1980s were the first of their kind and proved influential across the world.

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The Anglo-Irish Agreement In October 1984 the Irish Republican Army attempted to murder Margaret Thatcher and many of her cabinet by bombing her hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party annual conference. The Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 was an attempt to improve security cooperation between Britain and Ireland and to give some recognition to the political outlook of Catholics in Northern Ireland, an initiative which won warm endorsement from the Reagan administration and the US Congress. Margaret Thatcher & Ronald Reagan at Camp David, December 22, 1984.

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1987-1990: Prime minister – Third Term The legislative platform of the third-term Thatcher Government was among the most ambitious ever put forward by a British administration. There were measures to reform the education system (1988). There was a new tax system for local government (1989), the Community Charge. And there was legislation to separate purchasers and providers within the National Health Service (1990).

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The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. Margaret Thatcher

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Relations with the Soviet Union The Soviets had dubbed her the 'Iron Lady' — a tag she relished — for the tough line she took against them in speeches shortly after becoming Conservative leader in 1975. But when Mikhail Gorbachev emerged as a potential leader of the Soviet Union, she invited him to Britain in 1984 and pronounced him a man she could do business with. She did not soften her criticisms of the Soviet system, making use of new opportunities to broadcast to television audiences in the east to put the case against Communism. Margaret Thatcher & Gorbachev December 7, 1987

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Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shakes hands with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Kremlin Palace, Moscow, where they met for talks at the start of her four-day visit to the USSR.

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Why Britain needed an Iron Lady It pays to know the enemy - not least because at some time you may have the opportunity to turn him into a friend. Margaret Thatcher

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The Attitude towards Margaret Thatcher Margaret Thatcher remains an intensely controversial figure in Britain. Critics claim that her economic policies were divisive socially, that she was harsh in her politics. Defenders point to a transformation in Britain's economic performance over the course of the Thatcher Governments. Trade union reforms, privatization, deregulation, a strong anti-inflationary stance, and control of tax and spending have created better economic prospects for Britain than seemed possible when she became Prime Minister in 1979.

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Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with former US President Ronald Reagan at Claridges, in London. 1990

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Baroness Margaret Thatcher reunited with her husband Sir Denis Thatcher, when he returned home after spending the last few weeks recovering from his six-hour coronary by-pass operation.

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The Queen is greeted by Baroness Margaret Thatcher as she arrives for the former PM's 80th Birthday party, October 13, 2005.

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Former British Prime Minister Thatcher looks at a parade of veterans of the Falkland Islands conflict in London on June 17, 2007.

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Margaret Thatcher and modern British Politics The Labor Party leadership was transformed by her period of office and the “New Labor” politics of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown would not have existed without her. Her legacy remains the core of modern British politics: the world economic crisis since 2008 has revived many of the arguments of the 1980s, keeping her name at the center of political debate in Britain. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown

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Critics and Supporters Critics and supporters alike recognize the Thatcher premiership as a period of fundamental importance in British history. Margaret Thatcher accumulated huge prestige over the course of the 1980s and often compelled the respect even of her bitterest critics. Indeed, her effect on the terms of political debate has been profound.

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Former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher stands in front of a bronze statue of herself, inside the Palace of Westminster, London.

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Here, the former prime minister is greeted by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican on May 27, 2009.

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August 3, 2010

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I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.

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