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Winston Churchill's Parents

Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill - Churchill Archives CentreLord Randolph Churchill and Miss Jennie Jerome met during the racing season in 1873 on the Isle of Wight–one of the great social events of the British summer season. The Cowes Week regatta began in 1826 and is the longest-running regatta in the world. 

Winston Churchill described the time that his parents met in his book My Early Life:  ‘She was at that time widely known in New York, Paris and London Society as one of the most beautiful girls of the day. Lord Randolph Churchill fell in love with her at first sight, and in a few months, they were man and wife.’

They had a relatively short courtship and decided to marry when she accepted his proposal not long after having met. They married on the 15th of April 1874.

Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill was born in 1849, the second son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough. Miss Jennie Jerome was several years older than her husband, born in 1854 and was the second of the four daughters of Leonard and Clara Jerome of New York.

Winston Churchill was born several months prematurely in 1874 and he was the oldest of two boys. He was very close to his brother Jack and adored both of his parents. He grew up in a classically Victorian fashion so was mostly away at boarding school during his childhood.

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James W Muller

Winston Churchill
of the International Churchill Societies 1994-95

The beginnings of this book go back to the time when I was in graduate school, studying political philosophy I was reading books from Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics at one end to Hegel’s Phenomenology and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil at the other. They take up the great questions of politics, such as whether there is any such thing as natural right or natural justice, what the best regime is, and what way of life makes human beings happy.

I was studying these first from an ancient, or classical point of view and then from a very different modern perspective; in short, starting with Plato and then turning to Machiavelli. I was writing my dissertation on "Liberty in the Political Philosophy of Montesquieu." He was the Enlightenment philosopher, the greatest lover of Britain among his French generation, and author of The Spirit of the Laws, perhaps the most comprehensive book written on politics in modern times. He was also the author of the theoretical basis of the separation of powers in the United States Constitution.

When I was struggling with this dissertation, as a kind of diversion late at night, I began to read a book that had somehow come into my hands: Winston Churchill’s Thoughts and Adventures. I don’t think I gave enough attention to, or appreciated well enough, some of the essays at the beginning; but the ones toward the end were really very arresting for me, particularly "Shall We All Commit Suicide?," "Mass Effects in Modern Life," and especially "Fifty Years Hence," in which Churchill tried to predict what would happen fifty years after he wrote that essay—which was just about when I was reading it.

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