Lord John Russell had been leader of the Whig Party since they were in Opposition against Sir Robert Peel's Conservative government. His support for the repeal of the Corn Laws was partly what forced Peel to take the same position, and when Peel resigned in the wake of this repeal in June 1846, the Whig Party came into power, and Russell became Prime Minister.
Despite having the next five and a half years in power, however, Russell's government achieved little of what he had wanted. On entering office, he was faced with the crisis of the Irish Potato Famine, as well as high levels of unemployment. He had a tumultuous political relationship with his Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, who was forced to resign in 1851 when his keen i…
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Editors. "Lord John Russell becomes Prime Minister for the first time". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1852, accessed 22 June 2017.]