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Portrait of Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli was born and brought up in London at the beginning of the 19th century. The son of Jewish parents, he was baptised as an Anglican. As a young man he wrote several novels before deciding to go into politics in the early 1830s. He was eventually elected as a Conservative MP and became Prime Minister in 1868 and 1874. Despite not being a practising Jew, Disraeli often faced anti-Semitic prejudice. He won working class support for the Conservatives due to policies which improved the public health and living conditions of the poor. At the same time, he was a passionate imperialist and continued to expand Britain's overseas empire.
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