Lord John Russell Biography
(Prime Minister of Great Britain)
Birthday: August 18, 1792 (Leo)
Born In: Mayfair, Middlesex, England
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, KG, GCMG, PC, FRS, alternatively Lord John Russell prior to 1861, was a British statesman who became the Prime Minister of Great Britain twice. A foremost Whig and Liberal politician, his first prime-ministerial tenure lasted from 1846 to 1852. He served his second tenure between 1865 and 1866. Both times, he served under Queen Victoria. Originally from the historic county of Middlesex (present-day Greater London), Russell belonged to the highest echelons of the British aristocracy. He received his education at Westminster and Edinburgh University. He was elected to the House of Commons from several districts in the early years of his political career. Between 1835 and 1839, he served as the home secretary. In the ensuing years, he also performed the duties of the secretary of state for war and the colonies, foreign secretary, and the leader of the opposition. A vociferous statesman on various issues, Russell advocated for the abolition of the Corn Laws in 1845, condemned the return of Catholic bishoprics in 1850, backed Italian nationalism, and maintained British neutrality during the American Civil War. On the other hand, under his leadership, the British government was unable to handle the Irish Famine, during which a quarter of Ireland's population either perished or immigrated.