Burns, John

Burns, John,

1858–1943, British union leader and politician. A factory worker as a child, he was largely self-educated and was led by his reading to radical socialism. Burns became an outstanding orator, and in 1889 he was one of the leaders of the London dock strike, an attempt to organize the ill-paid unskilled laborers. Burns was elected (1892) to Parliament among the first labor representatives, but he quarreled with James Keir HardieHardie, James Keir
, 1856–1915, British labor leader and socialist, b. Scotland. A coal miner, he became a union organizer and in 1888 founded the Scottish Labour party.
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 and soon abandoned both socialism and the trade union movement. Henceforth associated with the Liberals, he was president of the local government board (1905–14), but resigned from the cabinet in protest against Britain's entry into World War I. He retired from Parliament in 1918.


See biography by K. Brown (1977).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Burns, John


Born Oct. 20, 1858, in London; died there Jan. 24, 1943. Figure in the English labor movement. Mechanic by trade.

Burns was a participant in important strikes during the 1880’s. He was elected to Parliament in 1892, and he adopted positions of reformism and cooperation with the bourgeoisie. He was minister of local government (1905–14) and minister of trade (1914). He retired in August 1914 as a sign of his disagreement with the government’s decision to enter World War I. Burns later withdrew from political life.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Branches are located in Arlington, Ione, Heppner, Condon, Irrigon, Boardman, Burns, John Day, Prairie City, Fossil, Moro, and Enterprise; loan production offices are located in Hermiston, Ontario, Island City, Pendleton, and Lakeview.