Robert Lowe

(1811—1892) politician

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Liberal politician. An albino and a sharply sarcastic debater, Lowe cut a distinctive political figure. Of Anglican clerical family and educated at Winchester and Oxford, as a Liberal MP he gained a reputation for anti‐democratic views, apparently sharpened by Australian experience. As vice‐president of the Privy Council and responsible for popular education, he introduced the 1862 ‘revised code’ linking government grants to examination results in basic subjects. Out of office Lowe fronted the Whig ‘*Adullamite’ revolt against the 1866 Reform Bill, bringing down Russell's government and putting the Conservatives in office. When they passed a comparably ‘democratic’ measure, Lowe concluded it was necessary ‘to compel our future masters to learn their letters’. Chancellor of the Exchequer in Gladstone's 1868 government, Lowe had to withdraw his 1871 budget and was moved to the Home Office in 1873.

Subjects: British History.

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