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Stanley Baldwin

Birthdate: 3. August 1867
Date of death: 14. December 1947

Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, was a British statesman of the Conservative Party who dominated the government in his country between the world wars. Three times Prime Minister, he is the only British premier to have served under three monarchs .Baldwin first entered the House of Commons in 1908 as the Member of Parliament for Bewdley, succeeding his father Alfred Baldwin. He held government office in the coalition ministry of David Lloyd George. In 1922, Baldwin was one of the prime movers in the withdrawal of Conservative support from Lloyd George; he subsequently became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Bonar Law's Conservative ministry. Upon Bonar Law's resignation due to health reasons in May 1923, Baldwin became Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party. He called an election on the issue of tariffs and lost the Conservatives' parliamentary majority, after which Ramsay MacDonald formed a minority Labour government.

After winning the 1924 general election Baldwin formed his second government, which saw important tenures of office by Sir Austen Chamberlain , Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain . The latter two ministers strengthened Conservative appeal by reforms in areas formerly associated with the Liberal Party. They included industrial conciliation, unemployment insurance, a more extensive old-age pension system, slum clearance, more private housing, and expansion of maternal and childcare. However, continuing sluggish economic growth and declines in mining and heavy industry weakened his base of support and, although Baldwin was supportive of Labour politicians forming minority governments at Westminster, his government also saw the General Strike in 1926 and the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act 1927 to curb the powers of trade unions.Baldwin narrowly lost the 1929 general election and his continued leadership of the party was subject to extensive criticism by the press barons Lord Rothermere and Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook. In 1931, Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald formed a National Government, most of whose ministers were Conservatives, and which won an enormous majority at the 1931 general election. As Lord President of the Council, and one of four Conservatives among the small ten-member Cabinet, Baldwin took over many of the Prime Minister's duties due to MacDonald's failing health. This government saw an Act delivering increased self-government for India, a measure opposed by Churchill and by many rank-and-file Conservatives. The Statute of Westminster 1931 gave Dominion status to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, while establishing the first step towards the Commonwealth of Nations. As party leader, Baldwin made many striking innovations, such as clever use of radio and film, that made him highly visible to the public and strengthened Conservative appeal.

In 1935, Baldwin replaced MacDonald as Prime Minister of the National Government, and won the 1935 general election with another large majority. During this time, he oversaw the beginning of the rearmament process of the British military, as well as the very difficult abdication of King Edward VIII. Baldwin's third government saw a number of crises in foreign affairs, including the public uproar over the Hoare–Laval Pact, Remilitarization of the Rhineland and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Baldwin retired in 1937 and was succeeded by Neville Chamberlain. At that time, Baldwin was regarded as a popular and successful Prime Minister, but for the final decade of his life, and for many years afterwards, he was vilified for having presided over high unemployment in the 1930s and as one of the "Guilty Men" who had tried to appease Adolf Hitler and who had – supposedly – not rearmed sufficiently to prepare for the Second World War. Today, modern scholars generally rank him in the upper half of British prime ministers.

„I am quite content in these circumstances to be called a coward if I have done what I could, in accordance with the views of every country in Europe, to keep my own people out of war.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the centenary dinner of the City of London Conservative and Unionist Association (2 July 1936) on the Italo-Abyssinian War, quoted in Service of Our Lives (1937), pp. 41-42.
1936
Context: War is a very terrible thing, and, when once let loose in Europe, no man can tell how far it will spread, and no man can tell when or how it will stop. I am quite content in these circumstances to be called a coward if I have done what I could, in accordance with the views of every country in Europe, to keep my own people out of war.

„There is a saying as old as the Greeks that it is more important to form good habits than to frame good laws.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

The John Clifford Lecture at Coventry (14 July 1930), published in This Torch of Freedom (1935), p. 46.
1930
Context: There is a saying as old as the Greeks that it is more important to form good habits than to frame good laws. There is an undercurrent of suspicion that this is true and that, like patriotism, legislation is not enough. The hopes held out when laws are framed are not always realised when laws are passed... What happens to all the laws placed on the statute book? If half the hopes of their promoters had been realised, would not the millennium have arrived ere this?

„Supposing I had gone to the country and said that Germany was rearming and that we must rearm, does anybody think that this pacific democracy would have rallied to that cry at that moment? I cannot think of anything that would have made the loss of the election from my point of view more certain.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1936/nov/12/debate-on-the-address in the House of Commons (12 November 1936).
1936
Context: I put before the whole House my own views with an appalling frankness. From 1933, I and my friends were all very worried about what was happening in Europe. You will remember at that time the Disarmament Conference was sitting in Geneva. You will remember at that time there was probably a stronger pacifist feeling running through this country than at any time since the War. I am speaking of 1933 and 1934... My position as the leader of a great party was not altogether a comfortable one. I asked myself what chance was there... within the next year or two of that feeling being so changed that the country would give a mandate for rearmament? Supposing I had gone to the country and said that Germany was rearming and that we must rearm, does anybody think that this pacific democracy would have rallied to that cry at that moment? I cannot think of anything that would have made the loss of the election from my point of view more certain. I think the country itself learned by certain events that took place during the winter of 1934–35 what the perils might be to it. All I did was to take a moment perhaps less unfortunate than another might have been, and we won the election with a large majority... [In 1935] we got from the country—with a large majority—a mandate for doing a thing that no one, 12 months before, would have believed possible.

„Dictatorship is like a giant beech tree—very magnificent to look at in its prime, but nothing grows underneath it.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Broadcast from London (6 March 1934); published in This Torch of Freedom (1935), p. 21.
1934

„Freedom, ordered freedom, within the law, with force in the background and not in the foreground“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the Empire Rally of Youth at the Royal Albert Hall (18 May 1937), quoted in Service of Our Lives (1937), pp. 164-165.
1937
Context: Let me proclaim my faith... Here we have ceased to be an island, but we are still an Empire. And what is the secret? Freedom, ordered freedom, within the law, with force in the background and not in the foreground... It is an Empire organised for peace... It deifies neither the State nor its rulers. The old doctrine of the divine right of Kings has gone, but we have no intention of erecting in its place a new doctrine of the divine right of States. No State that ever was is worthy of a free man's worship.

„The real enemies are overwork, under-payment, insecurity and bad conditions“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the National Institute of Industrial Psychology (12 November 1925), quoted in On England, and Other Addresses (1926), pp. 55-56.
1925
Context: The fundamental question is how to make the most of the individual, with all his idiosyncrasies, in his work... these depressing features of the Industrial Revolution, whatever they have brought in their train inside workshops, have had a tendency to bring in their train outside workshops one very bad thing, and that is a dislike of work itself. If work can be presented in a palatable form, I am not sure that the ordinary human being does not like it, provided that he gets a reasonable amount of play. The real enemies are overwork, under-payment, insecurity and bad conditions... We must not exaggerate what is possible. You cannot abolish repetitive work; you cannot, even in a Socialist State; and, after all, the monotony of the workman's life is very much due to the monotony of the consumers' demands. If a man wants the same thing every day, the man who provides it will have a monotonous task.

„Quality before quantity any day. Build up with the best. What does it matter if it is a hundred years, or two hundred years, or more, before your country is full? Keep the stock you have, and the men and women you have, and see that the coming generations are in no way inferior to them.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the Canada Club, London (21 November 1927), quoted in Our Inheritance (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938), p. 141.
1927
Context: Your country is a country for men from the North, the hardy virile races. Quality before quantity any day. Build up with the best. What does it matter if it is a hundred years, or two hundred years, or more, before your country is full? Keep the stock you have, and the men and women you have, and see that the coming generations are in no way inferior to them.

„There is no country…where there are not somewhere lovers of freedom who look to this country to carry the torch and keep it burning bright until such time as they may again be able to light their extinguished torches at our flame. We owe it not only to our own people but to the world to preserve our soul for that.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech at University of Durham to the Ashridge Fellowship, as quoted in The Times (3 December 1934); also in Christian Conservatives and the Totalitarian Challenge, 1933-40 by Philip Williamson, in The English Historical Review, Vol. 115, No. 462 (June 2000)
1934

„Her life is an artificial life, and anything that tends to upset it, to break those cords and those strings, might ruin our country in a thousandth part of the time it has taken to build it up.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the centenary dinner of the City of London Conservative and Unionist Association (2 July 1936), quoted in Service of Our Lives (1937), pp. 43-44.
1936
Context: I have tried so far as I can to lead this country into the way of evolutionary progress, but I have tried to warn it against revolutionary progress, and I have tried to bring about a unity of spirit in the nation. I have done that, not only because it is right in itself, but because one watches this country becoming year by year more urbanised, more industrialised, and the potential dangers to this country becoming greater and greater lest at any time and in any way her communications, the constant flow of food and of raw materials, might ever be interrupted. Her life is an artificial life, and anything that tends to upset it, to break those cords and those strings, might ruin our country in a thousandth part of the time it has taken to build it up.

„I have tried so far as I can to lead this country into the way of evolutionary progress, but I have tried to warn it against revolutionary progress, and I have tried to bring about a unity of spirit in the nation.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the centenary dinner of the City of London Conservative and Unionist Association (2 July 1936), quoted in Service of Our Lives (1937), pp. 43-44.
1936
Context: I have tried so far as I can to lead this country into the way of evolutionary progress, but I have tried to warn it against revolutionary progress, and I have tried to bring about a unity of spirit in the nation. I have done that, not only because it is right in itself, but because one watches this country becoming year by year more urbanised, more industrialised, and the potential dangers to this country becoming greater and greater lest at any time and in any way her communications, the constant flow of food and of raw materials, might ever be interrupted. Her life is an artificial life, and anything that tends to upset it, to break those cords and those strings, might ruin our country in a thousandth part of the time it has taken to build it up.

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„Our most valuable real estate is our character“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto (6 August 1927), quoted in Our Inheritance (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938), p. 79.
1927
Context: I may confess to men here, of a stock so largely English, that our English intelligence is sometimes apt to be despised by nations that think they are quicker-witted than we are. Our most valuable real estate is our character— its steadiness, its reliability, its personal integrity, its capacity for toleration and for a quiet, humorous boredom with things. The general strike in England, which was not without its alarming aspects, illustrated all these qualities in our people.

„To-day when we think of Empire we think of it primarily as an instrument of world peace.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to a dinner given by the Province of Ontario (6 August 1927), quoted in Our Inheritance (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938), pp. 91-92.
1927
Context: There is no precedent for the British Commonwealth of Nations... we have wrought for ourselves a common tradition which transcends all local loyalties and binds us as one people. The Empire of our dreams, if not always of our deeds, is compacted of great spiritual elements— freedom and law, fellowship and loyalty, honour and toleration... To-day when we think of Empire we think of it primarily as an instrument of world peace.

„Socialism would bring him back from contract to status.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the Junior Imperial League (3 May 1924), quoted in On England, and Other Addresses (1926), p. 225.
1924
Context: We want to help to better the conditions for our own people. We want to see our people raised, not into a society of State ownership, but into a society in which, increasingly, the individual may become an owner. There is a very famous sentence of Sir Henry Maine's, in which he said that the progress of our civilisation had been of recent centuries a progress on the part of mankind from status to contract. Socialism would bring him back from contract to status.

„All service ranks the same, according to the spirit in which it is performed.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech in Leeds (13 March 1925), quoted in On England, and Other Addresses (1926), pp. 62-63.
1925
Context: It was for that reason, feeling as I did, that I was driven into the course which I embraced in December, 1916, when I accepted Mr. Bonar Law's offer to serve as his Parliamentary Secretary. I did that deliberately, because I believed that at my time of life, having already sufficient means to be independent of the active business in which I had passed my life up to then, I had the opportunity of giving my services to the country without any feeling that it was necessary to be remunerated for them. There is nothing singular in that. There must have been millions of men who felt as I did. I have never said, or believed, that that service which I had the opportunity of rendering was one whit higher or better than any other. All service ranks the same, according to the spirit in which it is performed. One of the sources of the great strength of our country in every part of the kingdom is that there are men who have no personal ambition for themselves to get where the limelight is brightest and publicity is greatest. And as long as our country can go on producing that type, which I am thankful to say it is producing from all classes of the community— so long as that is the case, I should never despair of England.

„The stock is the same as it ever was, and it is as fine as it ever was.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech in Winnipeg, Canada (13 August 1927), quoted in Our Inheritance (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938), pp. 116-117.
1927
Context: You very often hear and you sometimes read in newspapers not friendly to the British race that there signs of decadence in Great Britain. Don't you believe a word of it. The people at home are the same people who fought shoulder to shoulder with you for four years all over the world. They are the same stock which created the Maritime Provinces and Ontario. They are the same stock that built up this country. The stock is the same as it ever was, and it is as fine as it ever was.

„The fruits of the free spirit of man do not grow in the garden of tyranny“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the Empire Rally of Youth at the Royal Albert Hall (18 May 1937), quoted in Service of Our Lives (1937), pp. 165-166.
1937
Context: The fruits of the free spirit of man do not grow in the garden of tyranny... As long as we have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, men will turn their faces towards us and draw their breath more freely. The association of the peoples of the Empire is rooted, and their fellowship is rooted, in this doctrine of the essential dignity of the individual human soul. That is the English secret.

„The only argument which appealed to the dictators was that of force.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Baldwin to the Cabinet in 1937 during his last days as Premier, as quoted in The Collapse of British Power (1972) by Correlli Barnett, p. 449 <!-- Methuen -->
1937
Context: In none of these countries [Russia, Italy and Germany] was it possible to make to the people such an appeal as went home to the heart of our people, an appeal based on Christianity or ethics … The whole outlook in the dictator countries was so completely different from ours that for a long time people here could not understand how it was possible for these nations not to respond to the same kind of appeal as that to which our people responded. But they were beginning to realise it now... The only argument which appealed to the dictators was that of force.

„Love of one's country has been perverted into hatred of our neighbour's country by the preaching of lop-sided intellectuals, who themselves generally manage to escape the martyrdom they provide for others.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech to the St. David's Day Banquet in Cardiff (1 March 1927), quoted in Our Inheritance (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938), pp. 46-47.
1927
Context: ... that chauvinistic spirit which so often has been the curse of modern Europe. The best way in which you can develop a true national feeling and put your own country in the pride of place which belongs to her is to do it in communion with other nations and with the sole object of improving the world at large. It is not from disillusionment we have suffered since the War; we are taking a more sober view both of ourselves and of the world... Nationalism can take on some very ugly shapes. It looks as if as many crimes will be committed in its name as in the name of Religion or of Liberty. Indeed the source of the trouble is that Nationalists are apt to assume the garments of Religion... Love of one's country has been perverted into hatred of our neighbour's country by the preaching of lop-sided intellectuals, who themselves generally manage to escape the martyrdom they provide for others.

„What happens to all the laws placed on the statute book? If half the hopes of their promoters had been realised, would not the millennium have arrived ere this?“

—  Stanley Baldwin

The John Clifford Lecture at Coventry (14 July 1930), published in This Torch of Freedom (1935), p. 46.
1930
Context: There is a saying as old as the Greeks that it is more important to form good habits than to frame good laws. There is an undercurrent of suspicion that this is true and that, like patriotism, legislation is not enough. The hopes held out when laws are framed are not always realised when laws are passed... What happens to all the laws placed on the statute book? If half the hopes of their promoters had been realised, would not the millennium have arrived ere this?

„When you think of the defence of England you no longer think of the chalk cliffs of Dover; you think of the Rhine. That is where our frontier lies.“

—  Stanley Baldwin

Speech http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1934/jul/30/armaments in the House of Commons (30 July 1934).
1934
Context: Let us never forget this; since the day of the air, the old frontiers are gone. When you think of the defence of England you no longer think of the chalk cliffs of Dover; you think of the Rhine. That is where our frontier lies.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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