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Gideon Harper (Napoleon's World)

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Gideon Francis Harper (October 8, 1900 - September 13, 1985) was a Scottish politician who served as First Minister of Scotland from 1946 until 1957, and as leader of the Social Democrats from 1942 until 1960. In his nearly two decades as the central political figure in Scotland, Harper built a powerful political coalition of left-wing labor groups as well as a variety of interests of a more commercial and international nature from southern Scotland, accentuating the culmination of the shift in power in Scotland from the Highlands back towards Edinburgh.

Harper's reign, coinciding largely with that of Henry II, began with the promise to end the economic decline brought on by the British Recession of the 1940's, the same economic turmoil that had ousted the Scottish National Front from power. Harper was able to bring centrist SNF elements into his own coalition after the Social Democratic landslide in 1946 and operated more independently of royal influence than any prior First Minister. While the Scottish economy recovered in the late 1940's enough to earn Harper another large electoral victory in the 1949 elections, he was unable to sustain his early successes with the beginning of the English Anarchy in 1950 and the ensuing Scottish involvement in Yorkshire, which led to his calls for the formation of a national wartime government in 1952, thus foregoing a potential election in 1953. With the withdrawal of Scotland in disarray in 1954 and the continued economic troubles at home, especially following a French-led continental boycott of Scottish steel in 1955 designed to cripple the American ally, led to King Henry II calling on Harper to dissolve the national government and hold elections. In the January 1957 elections, the Social Democrats lost in a landslide longer than the one that brought them to power eleven years prior, and Harper retired.

Known as a reliably moderate liberal, Harper was enormously dismayed by the ultra-left factions in the Scottish Civil War and decried the decision of the military to crack down on them. He moved to England in 1970, spending the remainder of his life in London. He was a vocal critic of the Connery regime in Scotland, resulting in the revocation of his citizenship in 1979 and his inability to ever return to his homeland. Harper is best remembered as the longest-serving First Minister, and his Ministry receives varied reviews from a historical perspective.

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