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Richard Burdon Haldane Edit Profile

lawyer , statesman , author

Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane was a statesman, author, and reorganizer of the British Army. He was an influential British Liberal Imperialist and later Labour politician, lawyer and philosopher. He was Secretary of State for War between 1905 and 1912 during which time the "Haldane Reforms" were implemented.


He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and the universities of Edinburgh and Gottingen.


After studying law in London, he was called to the Bar, Lincoln's Inn, in 1879, and became a successful lawyer. In 1890 he was made a Queen's Counsel. By 1905 he was earning £20,000 per annum at the Bar.

He entered Parliament in 1885 as Liberal member for Haddington, a seat that he held until 1911. In 1905 he became secretary for war and carried through the greatest and most successful reorganization of the British Army in modern times


  • He created the officers training corps, set up the territorial army, and established the general staff organization, which was further extended two years later to include the imperial general staff He recognized the importance of science by founding the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington. In 1911 he was raised to the peerage, taking the title Viscount Haldane of Cloan. From 1912 to 1915 and again in 1924 he was Lord Chancellor. He was also a member of the judicial committee of the Privy Council.

    A believer in peace, he visited Germany in 1912 to sound out the government there on the possibility of some agreement in regard to armaments, but his mission had no results. There was no justification for later charges that he was pro-German. A philosopher of very considerable merit, he was Gifford Lecturer at St. Andrews (1902-1904), and he took a general and vigorous interest in the problems of universities and urged their modernization. He served as Lord Rector of Edinburgh University (1905-1908) and as Chancellor of the University of Bristol.


  • Other Work

    • Pathway to Reality (1903)

    • The Reign of Relativity (1921)

    • The Philosophy of Humanism (1922)

    • Human Experience (1926)