Benjamin Disraeli Fact File:Lifespan: 1804 - 1881 *** Full Name: Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield *** Occupation: British Conservative Politician, Writer and Prime Minister *** Date of Birth: He was born on December 21st, 1804 *** Place of Birth: He was born in Bloomsbury, London, England *** Family background: His father was Isaac D’Israeli and his mother Maria Basevi. He had an older sister and three brothers, although the youngest brother died in infancy. The family were Sephardic Jewish Italian with a history in merchandizing. His grandfather moved from Venice to England in 1748 *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in the London area *** Education: He began his education at the age of six years, he attended a dame school as a day boy in Islington, privately educated, after that he was sent to board with Rev John Potticary’s school in Blackheath ***
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 1: He was born during the 19th century, a time that would see many innovations in science, medicine and industry.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 2: Although the family had their roots in the Jewish faith in 1817 his father renounced Judaism and had the children baptized in the Christian faith.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 3: This turn of events had an enormous effect on his life as it opened up so many more doors to his future.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 4: By 1821 he began to work for Swain, Stevens Maples, Pearse and Hunt, a firm of solicitors based in the City of London as an articles clerk.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 5: It would be during a trip in the summer of 1842 with his father that he decided he did not wish to become a solicitor but instead he wanted to change paths and become a barrister.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 6: He proceeded to join the chambers of his uncle, at Lincoln’s Inn and then that of Benjamin Austen, who advised his father that he would not suit the role of a barrister and that he should follow a more literary path.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 7: He decided to try his hand at writing a novel but he withdrew his first attempt before a decision on publishing it was made. Although he withdrew that book he did however go on to publish another and with the proceeds of that decided instead to travel.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 8: The trip was cut short after the tragic death of his companion and he returned home, much changed, and began to write again.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 9: He did go on to publish two books but then decided it was time to enter the world of politics.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 10: Refusing to become either a Tory or a Whig he instead opted to become a Radical, but with no success.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 11: Having come under fire unfairly by a Tory during a by election, what ensued firmly planted him into the Conservative camp and he would eventually win a seat in the constituency of Maidstone and thereafter a seat in the House of Commons.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 12: During his time as a backbencher he would be taken up by a small idealistic group of Tory MP’s and who together with Disraeli would become known as the Young England group.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 13: As a result of the change in Prime Minister, he found himself in the enviable position of being offered the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he accepted.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 14: In this position his goal was to create a budget that would benefit the working classes making the Conservative party more appealing.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 15: During the next election he lost out and would find himself in opposition where he found himself for three quarters of his years in politics.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 16: In 1854 the Crimean War had begun and this would see lull in the political forum. The Queen would ask Palmerstone a Whig/Liberal to form a Government.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 17: He began to take much notice of foreign affairs and became respected as in this area.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 18: He became Prime Minister twice, first in 1868 and the second time in 1874. After he lost the election in 1880 he did go on to become Leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords in 1881.
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 19: As illness beset him, between gout and asthma he ventured out less and less. Fears grew over his state of health and even the Queen requested an audience with him although he refused and his political opponent, Gladstone noted in his diary “May the Almighty be near his pillow.”
Benjamin Disraeli Fact 20: He died on April 19th 1881 having descended into a coma following a bout of bronchitis. His body was laid to rest, together with that of his wife, at the Church of St Michael and All Angels. Queen Victoria, unable to attend the funeral due to protocol, did go to his burial vault to lay primroses, his favorite flower, so distraught was she at the loss of this dear friend.
Influence & Legacy: What he left behind as a politician was that the working classes and the Conservatives shared the root beliefs and the need to improve the lives of the inner-city laborer.
Important Events of the 19th century and during the life of Benjamin Disraeli include: The invention of the first electric light, the first steam engine is designed by George Stephenson and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia dies and his son Alexander II succeeds him.