Heir to an important border landed estate, Graham was educated at Westminster School and Oxford. He joined the Whig opposition in Parliament, supporting catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform. In 1830 he became 1st lord of the Admiralty in Grey's cabinet, and was one of the four ministers who drafted the Great Reform Act. At the Admiralty he introduced administrative reform, before resigning in 1834 over proposals for reforming the established Irish church. He became home secretary and Peel's right‐hand man in the 1841–6 ministry, resigning with him in 1846. After Peel's death, Graham remained a prominent Peelite politician, returning to the Admiralty in Aberdeen's coalition ministry of 1853–5.
Subjects: Economics — British History.