BORN OCTOBER 13, 1925, Margaret Thatcher, née Roberts, grew up in the small British town of Grantham. Her father owned a grocery store there and early on inculcated her with the Victorian virtues of hard work and thrift, along with a strong Methodist faith. Her childhood in the store and her father would both be major influences on Thatcher and would help to shape her intense dislike of borrowing and of the welfare state. Her father, Alfred, was an autodidact and a passionate conservative. Thatcher performed well in school and went to Oxford during World War II to study chemistry. In 1951, she married businessman Denis Thatcher. She later read law and became a tax attorney, a job that offered a thorough grounding in how ...

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