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Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg (Lord Acton; 1st Baron Acton of Aldenham)

Born: 1834 AD
Died: 1902 AD, at 67 years of age.

Nationality: English
Categories: Politicial Adviser, Professors, Writers


1834 - Born in Naples, Italy; birth of a British historian and politician


1837 - His father, Sir Richard Acton died


1843-1848 - Embarked on a journey at Oscott under Wiseman


1850 - Went to Munich to study under historian Ignaz von Dollinger


1853 - Travelled to USA


1857 - Went to Rome with Dollinger


1858-1862 - Became the part-owner and contributor to liberal Catholic Rambler


1859-1865 - Member of the Parliament for Carlow


1864 - Pius IX's Quanta Cura and Syllabus of Errors


1864-1868 - Acton's extensive archival researches


1865 - Married Countess Marie von Arco-Valley


1865-1866 - Member of the Parliament for Bridgnorth


1869 - Was offered a peerage by Gladstone for his efforts under Liberal political causes


1869 - Created Baron Acton by Gladstone


1874 - Acton responded to Gladstone's anti-Vatican articles in four letters to The Times


1875 - Feared excommunication but he was spared


1877 - Lectures include "The History of Freedom in Antiquity" and "The History of Freedom in Christianity"


1880-1885 - Advisor to Gladstone's second ministry and advocate of Irish home rule


1887 - Made observation that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" in his letter 


1889 - Review of James Bryce's American Commonwealth - became the editor of the Cambridge Modern History, which under his direction became a model of careful scholarship 


1892-1895 - Lord in Waiting to Queen Victoria 


1895 - He was appointed as Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University; gave out lectures on modern history and the French Revolution


          - Also the editor of Cambridge Modern History


1902 - Died at Tegernsee


Page last updated: 5:56am, 30th Oct '06

  • "The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern.

    Every class is unfit to govern."

  • "There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion."
  • "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
  • "The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities."