Russell, Lord John

Russell, Lord John

 

Born Aug. 18, 1792, in London; died May 28, 1878, at Pembroke Lodge, Surrey. English statesman and Whig leader.

Russell became a member of Parliament in 1813 and later held important government posts, including home secretary (1835–39), secretary for the colonies (1839–41), prime minister (1846–52 and 1865–66), and foreign secretary (1852–53 and 1859–65). In 1861 he received an earldom.

Although a spokesman for the interests of the aristocratic oligarchy, Russell took a flexible political line that included certain concessions to the industrial bourgeoisie and the promulgation of moderate reforms. He facilitated an agreement between the British government and the bourgeois upper stratum of the Irish nationalist movement (the Lichfield House Compact of 1835), while at the same time repressing the revolutionary wing (the Coercion Act of 1848 and the suppression of the Irish Uprising of 1848). He was also the instigator of police measures against the Chartists in 1848.

Russell promoted colonial expansion. He defended the aggressive goals in the Eastern conflict that led to the Crimean War of 1853–56. During the American Civil War (1861–65) he proclaimed a policy of neutrality but rendered all manner of support to the Southern slaveholders. Russell was the author of several historical and biographical works.

REFERENCES

Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed. vols. 8–15, 21. (See Index of Names.)
Tilby, A. W. Lord John Russell. London, 1930.

L. I. GOL’MAN

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