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George Hamilton-Gordon Aberdeen, 4th earl of

Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th earl of (ăbˌədēnˈ) [key], 1784–1860, British statesman. He served (1813) as ambassador extraordinary at Vienna and helped arrange (1814) the peace terms at Paris after Napoleon I's initial defeat. He was foreign secretary (1828–30) in the duke of Wellington's cabinet and secretary for war and the colonies (1834–35) under Sir Robert Peel. As foreign secretary (1841–46) in Peel's second government, he settled two boundary disputes with the United States, the Northeast Boundary Dispute by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842), and the Oregon controversy by the treaty of 1846. He also improved relations with France. He supported Peel in repealing the corn laws (1846) and resigned with him. As prime minister (1852–55), Aberdeen headed a brilliant coalition ministry and was quite successful in home affairs. He was, however, unable to prevent Viscount Palmerston and others in his cabinet from involving England on the side of the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War. Bad management of the campaigns and unpopularity of the war forced his resignation in 1855.

See biography by Muriel Chamberlain (1983); study by W. D. Jones (1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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