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Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading

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Rufus Daniel Isaacs, later Rufus Daniel Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading (10 October 1860 - 30 December 1935) was a United Kingdom politician and jurist.

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Rufusisaacs.jpg
Lord Reading in 1916

A prosperous lawyer, Isaacs entered the House of Commons in 1904, as Liberal Party member for the Reading constituency, a seat he held until 1913. During this period, he served as both Solicitor-General and Attorney-General in the governments of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and Herbert Henry Asquith, becoming the first Attorney-General to sit in the Cabinet in 1912. In 1913, he was made Lord Chief Justice, a position in which he served until 1921.

In 1918, Isaacs was appointed Ambassador to the United States, a position in which he served until 1919, while continuing at the same time as Lord Chief Justice. In 1921, he resigned the chief justiceship to become Viceroy of India. Although he preferred a conciliatory policy, he ended up using force on several occasions, and imprisoned Mahatma Gandhi in 1922. In MacDonald's National Government in August 1931, he briefly served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but stood down after the first major reshuffle in November due to ill-health.

Isaacs was elevated to the Peerage as Baron Reading, of Erleigh in the County of Berkshire, in 1914, and continued to rise in the Peerage: he was created Viscount Reading, of Erleigh in the County of Berkshire, in 1916; Viscount Erleigh, of Erleigh in the County of Berkshire, and Earl of Reading in 1917; and Marquess of Reading in 1926. This is the highest rank in the Peerage reached by a Jew in British history.

He assumed the surname Rufus Isaacs, which is still used by his male-line descendants.


Preceded by:
Sir Cecil Spring-Rice
British Ambassador to the United States
1918–1919
Succeeded by:
The Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Preceded by:
The Lord Chelmsford
Viceroy of India
1921–1925
Succeeded by:
The Earl of Lytton
Preceded by:
The Lord Parmoor
Leader of the House of Lords
1931
Succeeded by:
The Viscount Hailsham
Preceded by:
Arthur Henderson
Foreign Secretary
1931
Succeeded by:
Sir John Simon
Preceded by:
The Earl Beauchamp
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
1934–1935
Succeeded by:
The Marquess of Willingdon

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Preceded by:
New Creation
Marquess of Reading Succeeded by:
Gerald Rufus Isaacs
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