- Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry
- (1836–1908)British prime minister remembered as a staunch radical and consistent opponent of imperial expansion. His government of 1905–1908 nevertheless began an informal alliance with France that led into World War I.Campbell-Bannerman was from a Scottish mercantile family. He was educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Cambridge, and entered Parliament as a radical for the Scottish constituency of Stirling Burghs in 1868. He placed himself in the tradition of Richard Cobden, and became a lifelong follower of William Gladstone. He worked under Edward Cardwell during his reforming tenure at the War Office in the early 1870s, and subsequently served as Chief Secretary for Ireland under Gladstone in 1884–1885. As a Gladstonian, he supported Home Rule in 1886, dismissing Ulster’s objections as “Ulsteria.” Campbell-Bannerman served at the War Office in the Liberal governments of 1886 and 1892–1895.During subsequent decade of opposition, Campbell-Bannerman was a leader among the anti-imperialist, the so-called “little Englander” Liberals. In protest against the army’s tactics of burning farms and relocating the Boer population in “concentration camps” during the Second Boer War and to counter the government’s argument that the army was not bound by the laws of war as the Boer guerilla tactics violated them, Campbell-Bannerman rhetorically demanded “when is a war not a war? When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa,” a remark for which he is often remembered.Arthur J. Balfour ’s Conservative government resigned in December 1905, and Campbell-Bannerman became premier. In the subsequent election campaign he called for an international “League of Peace” adumbrating subsequent notions of a League of Nations, but campaigned primarily on the venerable Cobdenite slogan of “Peace, Retrenchment and Reform.” He won an imposing victory, and as prime minister he governed as more of a Gladstonian small-government Liberal than a social democratic “new Liberal” - as his old-fashioned electoral cry had implied. As Prime Minister, he agreed reluctantly to the staff conversations with France, initiated by Sir Edward Grey, which prepared the way for British intervention in World War I. He resigned the office due to ill health on April 8, 1908, and died on April 22, with Herbert Asquith succeeding him.See also <
>; < >.FURTHER READING:Spender, J. A. The Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923;Wilson, John. CB: A Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. London: Constable, 1973.MARK F. PROUDMAN
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.