H. H. Asquith

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Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC, KC (12 September 1852 – 15 February 1928) served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916.[1] He was the longest continuously serving Prime Minister in the 20th century until early 1988.[2]

As Prime Minister, he led his Liberal party to a series of domestic reforms, including social insurance and the reduction of the power of the House of Lords. He led the nation into The First World War, but a series of military and political crises led to his replacement in late 1916 by David Lloyd George. His falling out with Lloyd George played a major part in the downfall of the Liberal Party.

Before his term as Prime Minister he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1905 to 1908 and as Home Secretary from 1892 to 1895. During his lifetime he was known as H. H. Asquith before his accession to the peerage and as Lord Oxford afterwards.

Asquith's achievements in peacetime have been overshadowed by his weaknesses in wartime. Many historians portray a vacillating prime minister, unable to present the necessary image of action and dynamism to the public.[3] Others[4] stress his continued high administrative ability. The dominant historical verdict is that there were two Asquiths: the urbane and conciliatory Asquith who was a successful peacetime leader and the hesitant and increasingly exhausted Asquith who practised the politics of muddle and delay during the World War.[5]


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