John Major

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Major, John,

1469–1550, Scottish theologian and historian. He studied and taught at the Univ. of Paris. His works, all in Latin, were published there. He was one of the most famous teachers of scholastic philosophy of his day, at Paris and later at the Univ. of Glasgow and at St. Salvator's College, St. Andrews. The best known of his works is Historia Majoris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae (Paris, 1521; Edinburgh, 1740). His History of Greater Britain, both England and Scotland was the first critical history of Scotland. An English translation by Archibald Constable was published (1892) with a biography by Aeneas J. G. Mackay. Major's name was also spelled Mair.

Major, John,

1943–, British statesman, b. John Major Ball. Raised in a working-class area of London, he was elected to Lambeth borough council (1968–71) and entered Parliament as a Conservative in 1979. He became Prime Minister Margaret ThatcherThatcher, Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher, Baroness,
1925–2013, British political leader. Great Britain's first woman prime minister, nicknamed the "Iron Lady" for her uncompromising political stance, Thatcher served longer than any other British prime minister in the 20th
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's chief secretary to the Treasury in 1987, foreign secretary in 1989, and, later that year, chancellor of the exchequer. A Thatcher loyalist, he became her successor after she withdrew from the 1990 party elections. Diplomatic and respected, even by the opposition, he moderated the Thatcher government's controversial poll tax and its opposition to greater integration into the European Community (now the European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations)
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). He provided military support to the United States in the Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.

The First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
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 (1991). In 1992, Major and the Conservatives again defeated Labour in a national election. Despite a political setback in 1992 when his government could no longer support the minimum exchange level of the pound within the exchange-rate mechanism of the European Monetary SystemEuropean Monetary System,
arrangement by which most nations of the European Union (EU) linked their currencies to prevent large fluctuations relative to one another. It was organized in 1979 to stabilize foreign exchange and counter inflation among members.
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, Major was able to win ratification of the Treaty of European Union (Maastricht Treaty) in 1993. In 1994 his government's representatives participated in the negotiation of a cease-fire in Northern Ireland. Although party infighting, policy changes, and scandals eroded his parliamentary and public support, Major was reaffirmed as Conservative party leader in 1995. After the Conservatives were defeated by Tony BlairBlair, Tony
(Anthony Charles Lynton Blair), 1953–, British politician, b. Edinburgh. An Oxford-educated lawyer, he was first elected to Parliament in 1983 as the Labour party candidate from a district in N England.
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 and Labour in a landslide in 1997, Major resigned as party leader; he retired from Parliament in 2001


See E. Pearce, The Quiet Rise of John Major (1991).

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