Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th earl of

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Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th earl of

biographical name

(born Jan. 28, 1784, Edinburgh, Scot.—died Dec. 14, 1860, London, Eng.) British foreign secretary and prime minister (1852–55). As special ambassador to Austria in 1813, he helped form the coalition that defeated Napoleon. As foreign secretary (1828–30, 1841–46), he settled boundary disputes between Canada and the U.S. with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty and the Oregon Treaty (see Oregon Question). As prime minister, he formed a coalition government, but his indecision hampered peacekeeping efforts and led to Britain's involvement in the Crimean War. Constitutionally responsible for the mistakes of British generals in the war, he resigned in 1855.

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