Born in Houghton, Norfolk on August 26, 1676, the third son in a family of nineteen, Robert Walpole grew up to become the first resident of 10 Downing Street as well as the first to perform the duties of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, even if he lacked the actual title.

Educated at Eton School, and King's College at Cambridge University, Sir Robert entered Parliament in 1701 at the age of 25 as the Whig representative for for Castle Rising, Norfolk, a year after inheriting the country seat which gave him the financial freedom required to become an MP. His effective public speaking, and reputation as a good administrator won him a place as Secretary of Warin 1708 before becoming Treasurer of the Navy between 1710–11.

In 1711 the Whigs were defeated by the Tories at a General Election, and the Tories managed to get Walpole falsely convicted of graft during his period of office, and he served six months in the Tower of London, but this didn't snuff out his political ambition, and he returned to become the Leader of the Opposition in 1713.

After George I's ascension to the throne in 1713, Walpole's power increased, primarily due to the fact that he could speak German, and thus was one of the few who could talk to the King. He returned to Parliament as the Paymaster General, and became First Lord of the Treasury in 1715, but resigned in 1717. He continued to attack the govenment

Walpole's career benefited from a government crisis in 1721, after the collapse of the South Sea Bubble, which caused many thousands of people to lose their money. Walpole though involved, had sold out early and was therefore accredited with considerable financial accumen, which led to him being given the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, and was also invested with the powers later associated with a Prime Minister.

Walpole retained his position for 21 years, primarily due to his huge popularity with both the King and the populace, as well as an alleged mastery of the art of bribery and ]corruption] which saw off many off his opponents. He was knighted in 1725 by George I, and is widely credited with the introduction of the Cabinet, and the stengthening of the House of Commons.

He was forced to resign from Parliament in 1742 after his handling of the 1739-48 war of Spanish Succession, but was swiftly made Earl of Orford, and became a member of the House of Lords until his death on March 18, 1745.

As an interesting note he was also the father of the author Horace Walpole, who is credited with writing the first Gothic novel

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