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Herbert Henry Asquith
1st Earl of Oxford

A graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, Asquith became a member of Parliament in 1886. He served in Campbell-Bannerman's government (1906) as home secretary and chancellor of the Exchequer. He also served in his cabinet and succeeded him as prime minister in 1908.

Asquiths ministry was turbulent to say the least. When the Lords rejected the Liberals budget in 1909 it led to open conflict between the two houses of parliament that resulted in the Parliament Act of 1911 shifting the balance of legislative power from the Lords to the Commons, preventing the Lords from rejecting public legislation. That bill was passed by the Lords due to threats by the Liberals to pack the Lords with Liberal peers to carry the legislation. He also was confronted industrial problems, challenges from suffragettes and the potential for the smouldering question of Irish home rule to ignite civil war. Notable legislative achievements included passage of the National Insurance Act (1911) which provided insurance covering unemployment and illness.

Asquith lead a coalition government following the outbreak of World War I, but was ousted by Lloyd George, another Liberal, who had secured the backing of Conservatives to win election in December, 1916. The Lloyd George election caused a split in the Liberal Party, which has to be considered one of the reasons for its decline during the period between World War I and World War II. Asquith remained party leader unntil 1926.


1908 - In Lisbon, King Carlos I of Portugal and the crown prince are assassinated. Young Turks in revolt in Macedonia. The London Olympics are held. Lord Northcliffe acquires "The Times." In America, The Ford Company produces the Model "T." In baseball, the spitball is ruled illegal.
1909 - Henri Matisse paints "The Dance". Civil War breaks our in Honduras. Frank Lloyd Wright completes the Robie House in Chicago. Vassily Kandinsky paints his first abstract paintings. American explorer, Robert Peary reaches the North Pole. William Howard Taft is inaugurated as 27th president of the United States. London hairdressers begin offering the new permanent waves. Women are admitted to German universities for the first time.
1910 - King Edward VII dies. George V succeeds him. China abolishes slavery. Butros Ghali, Egyptian Premier, is assassinated. In America, the Mann Act makes it illegal to transport women across state lines for immoral purposes. E. M. Forster publishes "Howard's End." Mark Twain and Leo Tolstoi die. In New York, the Manhattan Bridge is completed.
1911 - Lloyd George brings the National Health Insurance Bill before Parliament. The Russian Premier, Peter Stolypin is assassinated. Revolution in central China. Winston Churchill is named First Lord of the Admiralty.
1912 - The Republic of China is established. The S.S. "Titanic," on her maiden voyage, strikes an iceburg and sinks. The remains of the "Piltdown Man" are found near Lewes. Jim Thorpe, an American Indian, is the star of the Stockholm Olympics are held. In America, the F. W. Woolworth Company is founded.
1913 - In London, suffragettes hold demonstrations. Mahatma Gandhi is arrested. The U. S. Federal Reserve System is established. There are several Wars in the Balkans between the Bulgarians and Turkey; then Buglaria and Serbia and Greece, then Russia declares on Bulgaria, Serbia invades Albania. And so it goes. Woodrow Wilson is elected president in the U. S.
1914 - [June] Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary is assassinated, starting World War I. [Aug.] Germany declares war on Russia and France and invades Belgium. Great Britain declares war on Germany. Austria declares against Russia. Serbia declares war on Germany. France declares war on Austria, as does Britain. Austria declares war on Belgium. Russia, Britain and France declare war on Turkey. And then the hostilities begin in one of the bloodiest conflicts on the planet. Mahatma Gandhi returns to India. U.S. troops occupy Vera Cruz, Mexico.
1915 - [April] Poison gas is used in battle fo"Lusitania<" is sunk by a German submarine moves America toward entry into the war. Italy declares war on Austria and Hungary. Organized resistance to British rule in Indian begins under Gandhi.
1916 - Zeppelin raids are conducted on Paris. [Feb.] The Germans begin the Battle of Verdun. [May] The British fleet fights the German fleet in the Battle of Jutland. Germany declares war on Portugal. Food rationing begins in Germany. Daylight-savings time ("Summertime") is introduced in Britain. Margaret Sanger helps open the first birth control clinic. Prohibition is expanded to 24 U. S. states.

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