Politician, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient. Randal Cremer was a British Liberal Party Politician and the recipient of the 1903 Nobel Peace Prize “for the use of arbitration to resolve international conflicts, with the aim of preventing war.” Born William Randal Cremer, he preferred to be called by his middle name. He was the son of George Cremer, a stagecoach painter, and his wife Harriet. His father deserted his family when Cremer was an infant, leaving them in great poverty. He attended a Methodist school. At the age of twelve, he was working as a pitchboy in a shipyard; at fifteen, he was apprentice carpenter to an uncle. Leaving home, he went first to Brighton and then to London in 1860, he became a founder member of a worker's union, the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, as well as becoming Secretary of the International Working Men’s Association. Realizing that the working man should be represented in Parliament, he ran but lost two elections, 1868 and 1874. His platform called for the vote by ballot, compulsory education, Irish disestablishment, direct taxation, land reform, amendment of the laws governing labor unions, creation of courts of conciliation to handle labor-management disputes and of international boards of arbitration to adjudicate disputes among nations. With a new voting district being made consisting of mainly working men, he was elected to Parliament in 1885, 1886, and 1892. Defeated in 1895, he was reelected in 1900, retaining his seat until his death. After being a member of Parliament for only two years, he solicited for 234 signatures of the members of Commons in a resolution to the United States President Grover Cleveland and the US Congress urging them if any conflict between their government and the British government, a settlement by diplomacy should be done using arbitration. He led a committee to present this resolution to President Cleveland. After attending a small meeting in Paris, France in 1888 with Frederic Passy, a French pacifist and a few other delegates, a larger and more successful meeting was held in London on June 30, 1889 including him, 83 French delegates, and eleven MPs from seven other countries attending. With this meeting, he became one of the founders of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organization for cooperation between the elected representatives of different countries. In the 21st century, IPU has 179 delegates from around the world. In 1870, Cremer formed a committee of working men to try to keep Great Britain neutral in the Franco-Prussian War. This evolved into the Working Men's Peace Association, of which Cremer remained the secretary until his death. After receiving the 1903 Nobel Prize, he donated the $9,000 monetary prize to the International Arbitration League, which he had held the position of secretary. He married twice and had no children. He was knighted by King Edward VII in 1907, and died the following year of pneumonia at his home.
Bio by: Linda Davis