William Pitt the Younger

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William Pitt the Younger (May 28 1759 - January 23 1806) was the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1783 to 1801, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1804 until his death. He is commonly referred to as Pitt the Younger to distinguish him from his father, also William, Pitt the Elder, also a Prime Minister of Great Britain. Pitt was first appointed Prime Minister at the age of 24, the youngest in British history.

Pitt went to Cambridge University, but took advantage of University statutes to obtain a degree without examination as he was the son of a nobleman. He practised as a lawyer, and stood for Parliament in the 1780 election. He was elected in 1781, and made his name in opposing the war against the American colonies. Pitt was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1782, but the government he was in was defeated in Parliament over the peace terms with the United States in 1783.

At this point, King George III asked Pitt to be Prime Minister, but Pitt declined because he was too young and had too little support. The King was forced to accept a coalition of Charles James Fox, with whom he had a feud, and Lord North, who had been Prime Minister during the American War of Independence. Pitt led the opposition to this government; when Fox attempted to take over the running of British India, the King intervened to ensure the House of Lords defeated the Bill, and then dismissed the government.

This time Pitt accepted appointment as Prime Minister.

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