Joseph Chamberlain

Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British politician and statesman, who was  first a radical Liberal then a leading imperialist.

He opposed Home Rule for Ireland, and formed a Unionists faction that undermined Liberal Party power when he switched to supporting the Conservatives. Chamberlain was a businessman with a strong interest in the rights of the industrial worker and small farmer.

He made his career in Birmingham, first as a manufacturer of screws and then as a notable Mayor of the city. He was a radical Liberal Party member and a campaigner for educational reform.

As a self-made businessman who never attended university, he had contempt for the aristocracy. He entered the House of Commons at thirty-nine years of age, relatively late in life compared to privileged young aristocrats.  He promoted a variety of schemes to build up the Empire in Asia, Africa, and the West Indies.

Despite never becoming Prime Minister, he was one of the most important British politicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as a renowned orator and divisive politician. Winston Churchill later wrote of him that he was the man "who made the weather". Chamberlain was the father of Sir Austen Chamberlain and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.