The Thatcher Project
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Death of Margaret Thatcher, 08 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher was one of the most polarising figures of the Twentieth Century. To her supporters, she ranks among the great prime ministers of British history: the woman who banished socialism, tamed the trade unions and led her country to victory in the Cold War. For her critics, she destroyed British industry, blasted the lives of the poor and unleashed a new era of greed and inequality. Charles Moore calls her 'the greatest living Englishwoman'. For Jonathan Miller, she was simply 'loathsome, repulsive in almost every way'.

Her career was a nest of contradictions. Mrs Thatcher was the first prime minister since the 1820s to win three general elections in a row; yet she was the first since Neville Chamberlain to be kicked out by her own party. She was the only prime minister of the 20th century to give her name to an ideology; but no-one can agree what it was or who believed in it. She was the first British woman ever to become prime minister, but appointed only one other woman to her cabinet and became a hate figure for many feminists. Despite a rhetorical commitment to the 'small state', public spending rose for most of the 1980s.

It's now more than 30 years since Thatcher became prime minister, and 20 since her dramatic fall. As the Thatcher era recedes in time, and the range of archival materials grows, Thatcherism is emerging as a key field of historical inquiry. For this reason, Ben Jackson and I have launched the Thatcher Project, to advance the study of Thatcherism as a historical subject. To read about our recent book, click here.