Ramsay MacDonald

(redirected from Ramsey MacDonald)

MacDonald, Ramsay

(James Ramsay McDonald), 1866–1937, British statesman, b. Scotland. The illegitimate son of a servant, he went as a young man to London, where he joined the Social Democratic Federation (1885) and the Fabian Society (1886). He became (1894) a member of the newly formed Independent Labour party and was instrumental in organizing the Labour Representation Committee (later the LabourLabour party,
British political party, one of the two dominant parties in Great Britain since World War I. Origins

The Labour party was founded in 1900 after several generations of preparatory trade union politics made possible by the Reform Bills of 1867 and 1884,
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 party), in which he served (1900–1912) as first secretary. MacDonald was elected to Parliament in 1906 and was leader of the Labour party in the House of Commons (1911–14) until he was discredited and labeled a traitor for his pacifist stand at the outbreak of World War I. He lost his seat in Parliament in 1918 but was reelected in 1922 and again chosen to lead the Labour party. In Jan., 1924, he became prime minister and foreign secretary of the first Labour government of Great Britain. Although unemployment benefits were extended, his minority government did not enact strong socialist measures. In foreign affairs, however, MacDonald helped secure acceptance of the Dawes PlanDawes Plan,
presented in 1924 by the committee headed (1923–24) by Charles G. Dawes to the Reparations Commission of the Allied nations. It was accepted the same year by Germany and the Allies.
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 and sponsored the Geneva Protocol (later rejected by the Conservative government), which provided for compulsory arbitration of international disputes. A trade agreement with the Soviet Union and the government's withdrawal of charges against a Communist newspaper editor led to a vote of censure that forced MacDonald to call an election in Oct., 1924. Publication of the Zinoviev Letter (see under Zinoviev, Grigori EvseyevichZinoviev, Grigori Evseyevich
, 1883–1936, Soviet Communist leader, originally named Radomyslsky. He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor party in 1901 and sided with Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction after 1903 (see Bolshevism and Menshevism).
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) helped secure Labour's defeat. In 1929, MacDonald became prime minister in the second Labour government. Again it was a minority government and could not press a socialist program, and its strictly orthodox economic measures proved ineffective against the serious depression. In 1931, when proposed cuts in unemployment benefits split the Labour cabinet, MacDonald agreed to lead a coalition government (the National government), leaning heavily on Conservative support. This action was regarded as apostasy by most of the Labour party, which however was roundly defeated in the election that followed. Never completely trusted by his new Conservative allies, MacDonald was no more than a figurehead in the National government. In 1935 he resigned the prime ministership to Stanley BaldwinBaldwin, Stanley,
1867–1947, British statesman; cousin of Rudyard Kipling. The son of a Worcestershire ironmaster, he was educated at Harrow and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and entered the family business. In 1908 he was elected to Parliament as a Conservative.
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 and became lord president of the council. He lost his parliamentary seat in the same year but was returned in a by-election and remained in the cabinet until his death. MacDonald's writings include Parliament and Revolution (1920) and Socialism: Critical and Constructive (1924).

Bibliography

See biography by D. Marquand (1977); study by D. Carlton (1970).

References in periodicals archive ?
In a mirroring of that election Ramsey MacDonald, announced by the BID chair Les Cope-Newman, once again achieved a majority of votes.
| The students pictured with |their work are clockwise, from left: Hannah Wood, Ramsey MacDonald, Sharron Marie Douglas and Lucy Hutchcraft
It is not a unique concept, because the Tories and Liberals joined the National Government of the Labour Prime Minister (and MP for Aberafan) James Ramsey Macdonald in 1931.
The 1931 election, held as the country slumped deep into the depression, was very unusual in that a National government of Conservatives, Liberals and some Labour MPs (headed by James Ramsey MacDonald as PM) formed a broad coalition that swept to a landslide victory over the rump of the Labour party.
Back in 1924 when Charles and Eveline Clinkard opened their first shop, Ramsey MacDonald had just strolled proudly into 10 Downing Street as the first ever Labour prime minister (he had to walk out again at the next election just 11 months later).
The gallery is named after the son of ex-Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald, a former diplomat who donated his extensive collection of Chinese ceramics to Durham.
A loss to deep for words FARRELL Ramsey MacDonald Sadly passed away on February 28th 2012, aged 76 years.
In 1934, airline services started in earnest and on April 6, Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald flew from Birmingham to Speke to launch Midland and Scottish Air Ferries' new daily flights to Birmingham and Glasgow, Belfast and the Isle of Man.
Foot says the Blair government's betrayal of the working class it is supposed to protect and represent should therefore come as no surprise, especially given the record of past Labour governments, from Ramsey MacDonald cutting the dole for millions of unemployed people during the depression of the Thirties, to Harold Wilson's support for the Vietnam war and Jim Callaghan's swingeing public expenditure cuts in the Seventies.
The first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsey MacDonald effectively sacked himself, when in 1931 he decided to form a national government in response to the banking crisis.
But an economic blizzard blew in, and in 1931 the Labour Prime Minister, Ramsey Macdonald, c ollapsed under pressure, abandoned his party and formed a coalition government which at once went to the country asking for 'a doctor's mandate'.