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Robert Peel
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World Leader
    (February 5, 1788-July 2, 1850)
    Born in Ramsbottom, England, United Kingdom
    Member of Parliament for Cashel (1809-12), Chaippenham (1812-17), Oxford University (1817-29), Westbury (1829-30) and Tamworth (1830-50)
    Leader of the Conservative Party (1834-46)
    Chief Secretary for Ireland (1812-18)
    Home Secretary (1822-27,1828-30)
    Chancellor of the Exchequer (1834-35)
    British Prime Minister (1834-35,1841-46)
    Died of injuries after being thrown from his horse
    His father essentially bought his first seat in Parliament.
    He was an opponent of Catholic Emancipation (granting British Catholics the same political rights as Protestants).
    He went so far as to challenge pro-Emancipation MP Daniel O'Connell to a duel. (It never happened, since O'Connell was arrested on his way to the site for the duel.)
    Benjamin Disraeli called him 'a burglar of others' intellect. There is no statesman who has committed political petty larceny on so great a scale.'
    Although he was a founding member of the Conservative Party, after his death most of his followers, such as William Gladstone, joined the Liberals.
    His maiden speech in Parliament was described by the Speaker as 'the best first speech since that of William Pitt.'
    He changed his stance on Catholic Emancipation when rebellion threatened to break out in Ireland, telling the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, 'though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger.'
    As Home Secretary, he reduced the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty, simplified the criminal code and reformed the jail system.
    He established London's Metropolitan Police Force (1829), considered the first modern police force.
    Police officers in England were nicknamed 'bobbies' after him.

Credit: C. Fishel

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