Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As British prime minister from 1957 to 1963, Macmillan witnessed a period of unprecedented affluence combined with a diminished role in world affairs for Great Britain. Committed to improving the lot of the average Englishman, to granting independence to the British possessions, and to strong economic policies, he ended his career as prime minister in the wake of ill health, divisions within his party, and scandal.
Maurice Harold Macmillan was born in London on February 10, 1894, the son of Maurice Macmillan and his American-born wife, Helen Bolles. His education followed the pattern in the Macmillan family, which was noted for its scholarship as well as its business acumen; Harold’s grandfather had founded in 1844 the publishing house bearing the family name. At the age of nine, the boy was sent to an exclusive boarding school, Summer Fields at Oxford; from there he went to Eton, leaving an undistinguished record. In 1912, he entered Balliol College, Oxford, and it was as an undergraduate there that he initially became involved in politics. He became a member of that training ground for future politicians, the Oxford Union. His speeches before the Union were indicative of the politician of later years, showing careful preparation and love of epigram. His allegiances at this time wavered between Liberal and Labour, but more important, his education and Union membership provided young...
(The entire section is 2919 words.)
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