North Texas Daily

Maggie who?

Maggie who?

April 08
22:35 2013

You may not bother following the politics of nations outside our shores, but there’s at least one world-famous former head of state you should probably learn something about today: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died yesterday at the age of 87.

Also known as the “Iron Lady” for her hardened approach to politics, Thatcher’s legacy and the lasting effects of her leadership are still hotly debated, even on our own shores, more than 20 years after she left office.

Thatcher, who was the first and currently only woman to become Prime Minister of the U.K., oversaw the dealings of her country during the declining years of the Cold War—a trait shared with her close friend and U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

“She is the best man in England.”

– President Ronald Reagan

Like Reagan, Thatcher approached state policy and the threat of the U.S.S.R. with a strong conservative approach, cutting government expenditures and pushing for increased market freedom in an effort to draw her country out of two major economic recessions.

But the force of her administration could be polarizing. During the brief Falklands war in 1982, British forces recaptured the British territory of South Georgia Island from Argentinian occupiers who attempted to claim the islands. The conflict resulted in heavy casualties on both sides, but Thatcher admonished her critics by telling them to “rejoice” that Britain still stood triumphant.

“Thatcher was a terror without an atom of humanity.”

– Morrissey, English singer

Thatcher’s death sparked some serious debate yet again, with her worst enemies practically—or literally—celebrating her demise as the end of a tyrant. Supporters admired her strength and resolve while the country was in crisis, often comparing her to legendary Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who led the people of Britain to outlast and overcome the horrors of WWII and Nazi Germany.

She’s also been called a feminist icon, as one of the first famous female heads of state. Of course, these comparisons and titles eventually depend on your opinion of her policies, and we can’t fully assess her decade-spanning political legacy in this small space—but you should certainly learn more about this woman if you haven’t already.

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