Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, Earl of Rosebery
(1847–1929)
   In 1894–1895, Rosebery was briefly prime minister of Great Britain, during which time Britain declared a protectorate over Uganda. Rosebery served with distinction as foreign secretary during William Gladstone ’ s brief administration of 1886, negotiating a peaceful resolution to a crisis in Bulgaria. On the fall of Gladstone’s government over the issue of Irish Home Rule, Rosebery was one of few Liberal peers to remain with the Gladstonians. Rosebery became foreign secretary once again in Gladstone’s fourth government of 1892–1894, and succeeded the latter on his resignation.
   Gladstone’s resignation was provoked by his opposition to increased naval spending, and Rosebery’s brief government remained divided on questions related to military spending and imperial expansion, with many of the Liberal Party ’s core supporters opposed to both.
   Rosebery was a Liberal Imperialist, and as such something of a mentor to younger Liberal Imperialists such as H. H. Asquith and Edward Grey. Although a cautious diplomat, Rosebery is remembered for defending imperial expansion, particularly in Africa, as “pegging out claims for posterity,” a remark that reflected the widely held contemporary view that colonies were a necessary source of long-term wealth and power. His government fell on a vote pertaining to army preparedness, and in the subsequent election, the Tories and Unionists led by Lord Salisbury were able to accuse the Liberals of being insufficiently supportive of Britain’s imperial position. Rosebery did not again hold office, and for the rest of his life was a somewhat quixotic figure pining for an unlikely kind of nonparty government.
   See also <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    James, Robert Rhodes. Lord Rosebery. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964.
   MARK F. PROUDMAN

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

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