Joseph Chamberlain “QUITE RADICAL!” Sup, citizen?
The Introduction Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman who had not attended university.
Early life Chamberlain was born in Camberwell in London to a successful shoemaker and manufacturer, also named Joseph (1796–1874), and his wife Caroline Harben. He was educated at Euston between 1850 and 1852, excelling academically and gaining prizes in French and mathematics. The elder Chamberlain was not able to provide advanced education for all his children, and at the age of 16 Joseph was apprenticed to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and worked for the family business making quality leather shoes. At 18 he joined his uncle's screwmaking business of Birmingham. The company became known as Nettlefold and Chamberlain when Chamberlain became a partner with Joseph Nettlefold.
Mayor of Birminham In November 1873, the Liberal Party swept the municipal elections and Chamberlain was elected as the mayor of Birmingham. As mayor, Chamberlain promoted many civic improvements, leaving the town (in words to Collings) ”parked, paved, assized, marketed, gas & watered and improved”. Papers dared to call him a radical and even a socialist. Joseph was caricatured almost everywhere. The unusual fact is that his caricatures made monocles fashionable.
Member of Parliament The Sheffield Reform Association, an offshoot of the Liberal Party in the city, invited Chamberlain to stand for election as an MP soon after the beginning of his tenure as Mayor of Birmingham. Chamberlain's first Parliamentary campaign (the 1874 general election) was a fierce one; opponents accused him of republicanism and atheism, and even threw dead cats at him on the speaking platform. Chamberlain came in third place, a poor result for a leading urban Radical.
When elected, Chamberlain resigned as mayor of Birmingham, and was introduced to the House of Commons by John Bright and Joseph Cowen, an M.P. for Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Almost immediately, Chamberlain began to organise the Radical MPs, intenting to displace Whig dominance of the Liberal Party.Early difficulties in creating a coherent Radical group convinced Chamberlain of the need to establish a more effective organisation for the Liberal Party as a whole, especially in the localities. Chamberlain hoped to harness the public agitation against Turkey's Bulgarian atrocities for a Radical agenda.
Colonial Secretary Chamberlain believed that there, in the Colonial Office, was "work to be done" as Colonial Secretary, to expand the British Empire and reorder imperial trade and resources, and foster closer relations between Britain and the settler colonies, with the objective of reforming the empire as a federation of Anglo-Saxon nations, and he could be assured of support from Conservative backbenchers. Chamberlain had always been a keen imperialist and an advocate of a stronger empire; in 1887 in Toronto, he had declared that "I should think our patriotism was warped and stunted indeed if it did not embrace the Greater Britain beyond the seas".