Definition of William Gladstone from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


William Gladstone

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(1809-98) an English Liberal politician who was Prime Minister four times (1868-74, 1880-85, 1886 and 1892-4). He began as a Tory MP but left to form the Liberal Party, becoming its leader in 1867. He and his rival Disraeli were the leading figures in British politics for over 30 years. Gladstone was responsible for many improvements to life in Britain: he made voting secret, gave the right to vote to most men (but not women), and gave all children the right to an education. He also believed that the countries in the British Empire should govern themselves and that Ireland should have home rule, but he died before these aims could be achieved.