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William Ewart Gladstone PC FRS FSS (/ˈɡlædstən/; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894. He also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times.
Gladstone was born in Liverpool to Scottish parents. He first entered the House of Commons in 1832, beginning his political career as a High Tory, a grouping which became the Conservative Party under Robert Peel in 1834. Gladstone served as a minister in both of Peel's governments, and in 1846 joined the breakaway Peelite faction, which eventually merged into the new Liberal Party in 1859. He was Chancellor under Lord Aberdeen (1852–1855), Lord Palmerston (1859–1865) and Lord Russell (1865–1866). Gladstone's own political doctrine—which emphasised equality of opportunity, free trade, and laissez-faire economic policies—came to be known as Gladstonian liberalism. His popularity amongst the working-class earned him the sobriquet "The People's William".
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