Gladstone, William Ewart (1809–1898) By Cubbon, Alexandra Gerena
William Gladstone was a British politician who served as prime minister four times during his career, his first premiership lasting from 1868 until 1874. He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1831.
Gladstone began his political career in Parliament in 1832 as a High Tory, but he became a member of the Liberal Party in 1859 after being appointed chancellor of the exchequer under Lord Palmerston. His chancellorship resulted in such legislation as the Exchequer and Audit Act of 1866. During the 1860s and 1870s Gladstone’s domestic policies advocated ‘civic individuality’, while his foreign policy was anti-imperialist and favourable to Irish Home Rule. His views on empire stood in stark contrast to those of his political rival, Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who supported imperial expansion in the Middle East and Central Asia. Gladstone famously denounced the Ottoman Empire’s repression of the Bulgarian April uprising in the 1876 pamphlet Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East.