Portal:Politics/Biography/archive

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September 24, 2006
John W. Johnston

John Warfield Johnston (September 9, 1818–February 27, 1889) was an American lawyer and politician from Abingdon, Virginia. He served in the Virginia State Senate, and represented Virginia in the United States Senate when the state was readmitted after the Civil War. Since he had sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War, he was ineligible to serve in Congress due to the Fourteenth Amendment, however his disabilities were removed at the suggestion of the Freedman's Bureau. Thus, he was the first person to serve in the U.S. Senate who had sided with the Confederacy. (read more...)


June 29, 2006
Max Weber

Max Weber was a German political economist and sociologist who is considered one of the founders of the modern study of sociology and public administration. His major works deal with sociology of religion and government, but he also wrote much in the field of economics. His most recognized work is his essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which began his work in the sociology of religion. Weber argued that religion was one of the primary reasons for the different development paths of the cultures of the Occident and the Orient. In his other famous work, Politics as a Vocation, Weber defined the state as an entity which possesses a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force, a definition that became pivotal to the study of modern Western political science. (read more...)


June 16, 2006
Sir Robert Walpole

Robert Walpole is generally regarded as the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. The position of Prime Minister was only a de facto one, having no official recognition in law, but Walpole is nevertheless acknowledged as having held the de facto office due to the extent of his influence in the Cabinet. Walpole, a Whig, served during the reigns of George I and George II. His tenure is normally dated to 1721, when he obtained the post of First Lord of the Treasury; others date it to 1730, when, with the retirement of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, he became the sole and undisputed leader of the Cabinet. Walpole continued to govern until he resigned in 1742, making his administration the longest in British history. (read more...)


June 5, 2006
Yoweri Museveni

Yoweri Museveni has been the President of Uganda since January 29, 1986. Museveni was involved in the war that toppled Idi Amin's (1971–79) rule and the rebellion that subsequently led to the demise of Milton Obote's (1980–85) regime. With the notable exception of the northern parts of the country, Museveni has brought relative stability and economic growth to a country that has endured decades of government mismanagement, rebel activity and civil war. His tenure has also witnessed one of the most effective national responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa. (read more...)


May 15, 2006
Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (born August 4, 1961) is a U.S. Senator from Illinois. He received international media coverage for his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, delivered while he was still an Illinois State Senator. Obama won the open Senate seat while on leave from the University of Chicago Law School where he was Lecturer on Constitutional Law. He is the only African American currently serving in the U.S. Senate, the fifth in U.S. history and the third since Reconstruction. Obama won the election with 70% of the vote, with 27% of the vote going to his opponent Alan Keyes. He is junior senator to Richard Durbin. Obama is married to Michelle Obama, a Chicago native. They have two daughters: Malia Ann (born 1999) and Natasha (born 2001).


April 23, 2006

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Sir Mackenzie Bowell, PC , KCMG (December 27, 1824 – December 10, 1917) was the fifth Prime Minister of Canada from December 21, 1894 to April 27, 1896. Elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1867, Bowell joined the Conservative cabinet in 1878 as Minister of Customs. A competent, hardworking administrator, Bowell remained in cabinet as Minister of Trade and Customs and Minister of Militia and Defence when he became a senator in 1892. He became Leader of the Government in the Senate on October 31, 1893 and then, in 1894, as the most senior minister, Bowell succeeded to the prime ministership when Sir John Thompson died suddenly. His visit to Australia in 1893 led to the first conference of British colonies and territories, held in Ottawa in 1894. As Prime Minister of Canada, Bowell faced dissent in his party over the controversial Manitoba Schools Question. In 1890 Manitoba had abolished its Catholic school boards, contrary to the provisions made for Catholics in the Manitoba Act of 1870. Bowell and his predecessors had struggled to find a solution to the problem. When he decided to create a new Catholic school board for the province in 1896, seven cabinet ministers deserted him, and Bowell denounced them as "a nest of traitors."


April 15, 2006

Ken Livingstone is a British politician who has been the Mayor of London since the creation of the post in 2000. He was previously Leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until it was abolished in 1986. After abolition he became Member of Parliament for Brent East, but had little impact in the House of Commons. Livingstone was nicknamed 'Red Ken' from the early 1980s because of his left-wing views. He is a member of the Labour Party, but he was initially elected to the mayoralty as an independent candidate when he could not gain the Labour Party's nomination in the first mayoral elections. In January 2004, he was re-admitted to the party and stood as the official Labour Party candidate for mayor in the June 2004 elections, which he won with a total of 828,380 first and second preference votes. Currently, Livingstone is facing a one month suspension from his post as Mayor, imposed by the Adjudication Panel for England in February 2006 for comments to a journalist that were described by the panel as "unnecessarily offensive". The suspension was due to begin on 1 March but on 28 February 2006 a High Court judge postponed the suspension pending an appeal by Livingstone for Judicial Review of the Panel's decision.


April 8, 2006

The Right Honourable Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare, GCL GCMG CH PC (born 9 April 1936) was Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea from independence in 1975 until 1980, from 1982 until 1985, and again since 2002. His first two terms were as a member of the Pangu Party, but he is now leader of his National Alliance Party. Somare's political style was both fiercely nationalistic and conciliatory, following the tradition of Sana as he sees it. One of the roles of Sana is to invite enemies to a feast before any fight. Somare often appointed political enemies to posts in which they could exercise their interests and passions. In the lead-up to independence, he argued for and won citizenship and residency requirements which were both more severe than the outgoing Australian administration recommended and more moderate than most of his party wished. His economics have aimed for betterment of the people rather than simple economic growth.


April 2, 2006

Hu Yaobang (Chinese: 胡耀邦 Pinyin: Hú Yàobāng, Wade-Giles: Hu Yao-pang; November 20, 1915–April 15, 1989) was a leader of the People's Republic of China. He participated in the Long March and served as a political officer in the Chinese Red Army under Deng Xiaoping. After the founding of the People's Republic he headed the Communist Youth League. He held many positions in the party and became an important political leader in the CCP after the Cultural Revolution. Hu was made General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in 1980 but, until the mid-1990s, it was Deng who was the most influential Chinese leader although his sole official title was that of chairman of the Communist Party's Central Military Commission. Although Hu was a dedicated reformer and one of Deng Xiaoping's most important associates, he was later forced to resign in 1987 from his post as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China; leaving officially on January 16. Deng forced Hu to resign because Hu failed to control the student demonstrations in 1986. Hu Yaobang passed away due to a heart attack two years later at a Party Political Bureau meeting on April 15, 1989. Many people were dissatisfied with the party's slow response and relatively subdued funerary arrangements. Public mourning began on the streets of Beijing and elsewhere. In Beijing this was centred on the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square. The mourning became a public conduit for anger against perceived nepotism in the government, the unfair dismissal and early death of Hu, and the behind-the-scenes role of the "old men", officially retired leaders who nevertheless maintained quasi-legal power, such as Deng Xiaoping. Protests eventually escalated into the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.


March 30, 2006

Jane Jacobs

Plato (Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn) (c.427–c.347 BC) was an immensely influential ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens where Aristotle studied. Plato lectured extensively at the Academy, and wrote on many philosophical issues, dealing especially in politics, ethics, metaphysics and epistemology. The most important writings of Plato are his dialogues, although a handful of epigrams also survived, and some letters have come down to us under his name. It is believed that all of Plato's authentic dialogues survive. The dialogues of Plato are lively, often humorous or ironic, full of memorable characters and humble detail. It is generally agreed that Plato is the most enjoyable of philosophers to read. Socrates is often a character in the dialogues of Plato. How much of the content and argument of any given dialogue is Socrates' point of view, and how much of it is Plato's, is heavily disputed, since Socrates himself did not write down his teachings.


March 28, 2006

Jane Jacobs, OC , O.Ont is an American-born Canadian writer and activist. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States. Opposing expressways, and supporting neighborhoods has been a common theme in her life. In 1962, she was chairman of the Joint Committee to Stop the Lower Manhattan Expressway, when the downtown expressway plan was killed. She was again involved in stopping the Lower Manhattan Expressway, and was arrested during a demonstration on April 10, 1968. Jacobs opposed Robert Moses, who had already forced through the Cross-Bronx Expressway and other motorways against neighborhood opposition. A PBS documentary series on New York's history devoted a full hour of its fourteen-hour length strictly to the battle between Moses and Jacobs. In 1969, she moved to Toronto out of her objection to the Vietnam War and due to worry about the fate of her two draft-age sons. She chose Toronto as she found it a pleasant city and its rapid growth meant plenty of work for her architect husband. She quickly became a leading figure in her new city and was involved in stopping the Spadina Expressway. A common theme of her work has been to question whether cities are being built for people or for cars.


March 26, 2006

Thatcher at the Kennedy Space Center in February, 2001

Sid McMath was a decorated U.S. Marine and progressive Democratic reform Governor of Arkansas (1949–1953) who, in defiance of his state's political establishment, championed rapid extension of rural electric power, massive highway and school construction, the building of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, strict bank and utility regulation, repeal of the poll tax, open and honest elections and broad expansion of opportunity for black citizens in the decade following World War II. He remained loyal to President Harry S. Truman during the "Dixiecrat" rebellion of 1948, campaigning throughout the South for Truman's re-election. As a former governor, McMath led the opposition to segregationist Governor Orval Faubus following the 1957 Little Rock school crisis. He later became one of the nation's foremost trial lawyers, representing thousands of injured persons in precedent-setting cases and mentoring several generations of young attorneys.


January 8, 2006

Thatcher at the Kennedy Space Center in February, 2001

Margaret Thatcher is a British politician and the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a position she held from 1979 to 1990. She is a member of the Conservative Party and the figurehead of a political ideology known as Thatcherism. Even before coming to power she was nicknamed The Iron Lady in Soviet propaganda, an appellation which stuck. The changes she set in motion between coming to power and 1985 were profound, and altered much of the economic, cultural and commercial landscape of Britain and, by example, the world as a whole. Along the way she also aimed to roll back the welfare state, or "nanny state", as she termed it. Her popularity finally declined when she replaced the unpopular local government Rates tax with the even less popular Community Charge. At the same time the Conservative Party began to split over her sceptical approach to Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union. Her leadership was challenged from within and she was forced to resign in 1990, her loss at least partly due to inadequate advice and campaigning.


November 9, 2005
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Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (born January 28, 1955, in Paris, 17th arrondissement), simply known as Nicolas Sarkozy (About this sound French pronunciation ), is a notable French politician. He is often praised for his charisma, strong leadership qualities, and his many innovative initiatives, but criticised by others for being populist, careerist, and "repression-happy" for his law-and-order policies; in addition, his departures from traditional French values in favour of American-style economic reforms have been opposed by those who dislike laissez-faire economics. As of November 2004, he is president of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), a conservative political party, and he is French Minister of the Interior in the government of Dominique de Villepin, with the high honorific title of Minister of State. It is in this role that he has been particularly prominent during the recent riots in France.