Margaret Thatcher, Britain's "Iron Lady," who died today at 87, was a trailblazer. The first women to be the head of government of a Western democracy, her presence on the world stage sent a powerful message. But Thatcher was far from a prop on that stage. She was major player, talking as tough as she walked. With words she comforted a nation in the wake of terror attacks and emboldened women to chart their own destinies. But with words too, she launched a war and eviscerated her opponents.
|Speaking to a women's group, 1965|
"In politics, if you want something said, ask a man; if you want to get something done, ask a woman."
|Upon arriving at 10 Downing Street as prime minister, 1979:|
"I would just like to remember some words of St. Francis of Assisi which I think are really just particularly apt at the moment. 'Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope."
|When speaking to the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton, 1980|
"To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: 'You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning.'"
|Announcing the invasion of the Falkland Islands, 1982|
"The people of the Falkland Islands, like the people of the United Kingdom, are an island race. Their way of life is British; their allegiance is to the Crown. They are few in number, but they have the right to live in peace, to choose their own way of life and to determine their own allegiance. It is the wish of the British people and the duty of Her Majesty's Government to do everything that we can to uphold that right. That will be our hope and our endeavour and, I believe, the resolve of every member of the House."
|Following an IRA bombing that killed members of cabinet, 1984|
"The fact that we are gathered here, now -- shocked but composed and determined - is a sign not only that this attack has failed but that all attempts to destroy democracy will fail."
|In a speech on the U.K. joining Europe's common currency, 1990|
"No, no, no."
|Remembering friend and ally President Ronald Reagan, 2002|
"Ronnie and I got to know each other at a time when we were both in Opposition, and when a good many people intended to keep us there. They failed, and the conservative 1980s were the result. But in a certain sense, we remained an opposition, we were never the establishment. As Ron once put it: the nine most dangerous words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.' As usual, he was right."