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    January 10, 2020, Lord Acton would have celebrated his 186th birthday. So, in honor of the man who inspired our namesake, here are ten facts you should know about the amazing politician, historian and writer.

    • Acton (January, 10, 1834 – June 19, 1902) was born in Naples, Italy, and given the full-name John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton.
    • Raised a Roman Catholic, Acton was first educated at Oscott College, then studied privately at Edinburgh. Eventually, he applied to the University of Cambridge but was denied because of his Catholic faith. And so, Acton moved to Munich, where he studied at the University and lived in the home of theologian and priest, Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger.
    • In 1865, at 31, Acton married and eventually had six children.
    • An avid linguist, Acton spoke German with his wife during dinner, Italian with his mother-in-law, French with his sister‑in‑law and English with his children.
    • As a dedicated historian, Acton loved the written word. His estate at Cannes, France, had more than 3,000 books and manuscripts, while his estate at Tegernsee, Bavaria, had over 4,000, and Aldenham, England, nearly 60,000.
    • Acton always wanted to write a manifesto he referred to as “history of liberty,” but he never started the project, and his voluminous papers don’t include an outline.
    • Witnessing much oppression and government corruption, Acton declared that political power was a source of evil, not redemption. And he declared socialism “the worst enemy freedom has ever had to encounter.”
    • Despite being rejected as an undergraduate, Acton spent his last years as Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University.
    • In 1902, after suffering a stroke, Lord Acton passed away while a priest administered last rites.
    • After Acton’s death, Andrew Carnegie (who had purchased Acton’s 60,000-volume collection) gave the books to John Morley to donate to an institution of historical significance. Because of Acton’s association, Morley chose Cambridge University Library, where the collection still resides.

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