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Was James Ramsay Macdonald a Courageous Patriot or a Traitor to the People’s Cause

  • Date Submitted: 02/24/2013 01:40 PM
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James Ramsay MacDonald was born in Lossiemouth, Moray shire in Scotland on the 12th October 1866. He was brought up by his grandmother. He was a student at the local school from 1875 till 1881. He was a very intelligent boy and he became a pupil teacher and at nineteen found work in Bristol.

In 1886 James Ramsay MacDonald moved to London where he was employed as a clerk for the Cyclists’ Touring Club. In his spare time he studied for a science scholarship but as a result of a near starvation diet his health declined and he was forced to abandon his life long idea of an academic career.After he recovered his health, MacDonald was employed as a clerk by Thomas Lough, a member of the House of Commons. MacDonald had a growing interest in politics and joined the Fabian Society where he met many different socialists.

He was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1906, becoming party leader in 1911 until the first year of the Great War. During the conflict his pacifist attitude led to him being discredited and he lost his seat in the election of 1918.

Despite his defeat in the final year of the war he was returned to the House of Commons in the 1922 election.At the end of 1923 Stanley Baldwin, the Conservative Prime Minister resigned in favor of MacDonald, who became Prime Minister in January
1924 as head of the country's first Labour government.He was successful in settling the Franco-German dispute over war reparations but was defeated at the end of the year after allegations that the Labour party was pro-Communist.

In 1929 MacDonald once more became Labour Prime Minister but in 1931, as a result of increasing unemployment figures and a Sterling crisis MacDonald advocated austerity measures such as reducing unemployment benefits. Because the unemployment rate went down as a result of him helping more people into employment a lot of people were very supportive of him although on the other hand this also caused the unemployment benefits to go down meaning the...


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