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Using the example of a single selected political leader, explore the potential of the 'psychology of leadership' in explaining how the responses, drives and decisions of leaders are influenced by the experiences of their past.

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Introduction

Using the example of a single selected political leader, explore the potential of the 'psychology of leadership' in explaining how the responses, drives and decisions of leaders are influenced by the experiences of their past. Margaret Thatcher Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1925, the second daughter of a grocer and a dressmaker. Despite this somewhat modest beginning, she would grow up to become the first woman in European history to be elected prime minister, the first British prime minister in the twentieth century to win three consecutive terms, the nation's longest-serving prime minister since 1827 and arguably the most powerful woman on the Earth's surface during her eleven year reign as British Premier. During her time in office, Margaret Thatcher was very much in a minority inside her own party, her agenda was often peculiar to herself, yet she enjoyed remarkable success in pushing through desired legislation, often faced with great opposition. The inspiration for Thatcher's policies and explanations for the way she ran the Conservative party have long been discussed by political scholars with a variety of opinions produced. ...read more.

Middle

Unable to depend on the traditional supporters of the Conservative leadership, Thatcher was forced to use her charisma to gain support and loyalty. She exercised strict party discipline to limit opposition and used her extensive powers as Prime Minister to give herself enormous influence over the policy making process, therefore making up for the opposition she herself faced within her own party. Furthermore Thatcher turned her deemed flaws into powerful assets. She found her gender to be a powerful way of limiting dissention and asserting her domination on the Conservative party. Many of the older Conservative MP's admitted they found the fact that Thatcher was a woman made it far more difficult for them to disagree with her than if she had been a man in the same position, this suited Thatcher's powerful and domineering personality fine and she utilised it to maximum potential. Thatcher's favouring of a policy of merit over class or gender undoubtedly influenced by her own experiences can be seen throughout her massive over haul of the civil service. The civil service had long become renowned as a haven for privately educated, Oxbridge middle class white men. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thatcher saw the idea of choice as the fundamental basis, which underpins the modern Western world, therefore socialism and its lack of choice posed a significant threat to this. Therefore Thatcher, a self confessed "conviction politician" [6] used her life long personal religious beliefs to influence and justify her policy of anti-socialist government. When she became British Prime Minister, Thatcher put her cherished policies of limiting government control such as returning education, health care, and housing to private control into fruition, thus allowing individuals greater independence from the state while at the same time she crushed institutions such as the Trades Unions, which promoted socialist ideas, therefore it is possible to identity the basis for these economic and social policies of the Conservative government in the 1980's as having their roots in Thatcher's religious upbringing. [1] Campbell, John. Margaret Thatcher: a Grocer's Daughter, London: Random House, 2000, 29. [2] Harris, Robin, ed. The Collected Speeches of Margaret Thatcher, New York: HarperCollins, 1997, p310. [3] Harris, Robin, ed. The Collected Speeches of Margaret Thatcher, New York: Harper Collins, 1997, p311. [4] Harris, Robin, ed. The Collected Speeches of Margaret Thatcher, New York: Harper Collins, 1997, p75. [5] Harris, Robin, ed. The Collected Speeches of Margaret Thatcher, New York: Harper Collins, 1997, p311. [6] http://www.fortifyingthefamily.com/Margaret_Thatcher_on_Freedom. ...read more.

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