Robert Walpole

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Walpole, Robert


(First Earl of Orford). Born Aug. 26, 1676, at Houghton Hall, Norfolk; died Mar. 18, 1745, in London. English state figure.

In 1701, Walpole was elected to Parliament as a member of the Whig Party, and in 1708 he was appointed secretary at war. In 1715, after George I of the house of Hanover ascended the throne, Walpole became chancellor of the exchequer, and in 1721 he became head of the government. Walpole’s policies favored the landlords and the bourgeoisie. Political corruption reached unprecedented dimensions under his administration. Walpole’s repudiation of the colonial wars elicited the disapproval of the more expansionist circles of the bourgeoisie. The expansionists provoked a war with Spain in 1740, and in 1742, after England suffered a defeat, Walpole was forced to resign.