Churchill, Lord Randolph
(1849–1894)
   The father of Winston Churchill and a prominent Conservative politician and Secretary for India in the Marquess of Salisbury ’s government of 1885–1886, Lord Randolph Churchill was largely responsible for the British annexation of Upper Burma in 1886. Born at Blenheim Palace on February 13, 1849, Churchill was the third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough. His political career began with election to Parliament in 1874, after which he emerged as the leader of “Tory Democracy,” a progressive group of Conservative Members of Parliament who sought to secure a strong working-class vote for the government of Benjamin Disraeli by promoting its policies of social reform.
   Churchill quickly made himself useful, and his rise to cabinet responsibility was rapid; after his tenure in the India portfolio he became Chancellor of the Exchequer and Conservative leader in the House Commons, in each case the youngest member to hold the position for more than a century. Churchill was, however, of an impetuous temperament. He resigned after only five months because of quarrels with fellow ministers over budget estimates and never rose to cabinet level again, a lesson in unrealized potential. He was troubled by poor health for the remainder of his life.
   FURTHER READING:
    Foster, R. F. Lord Randolf Churchill: A Political Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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