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William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham PC (15 November 1708 – 11 May 1778), called William Pitt the Elder by historians, was a British Whig statesman who led Britain during the Seven Years' War (known as the French and Indian War in the United States). He again led the country (holding the official title of Lord Privy Seal) between 1766 and 1768. Much of his power came from his brilliant oratory. He was out of power for most of his career, and became famous for his attacks on the government, such as Walpole's corruption in the 1730s, Hanoverian subsidies in the 1740s, peace with France in the 1760s, and the uncompromising policy toward the American colonies in the 1770s.

Pitt is best known as the wartime political leader of Britain in the Seven Years War, especially for his single-minded devotion to victory over France. Victory made Britain dominant in world affairs. He is also known for his wide popular appeal, his opposition to corruption in government, his support for the American position in the run-up to the American War of Independence, his advocacy of British greatness, expansionism and colonialism, and his antagonism toward Britain's chief enemies and rivals for colonial power, Spain and France. Peters argues his statesmanship was based on a clear, consistent, and distinct appreciation of the value of the Empire.

Thomas (2003) argues that Pitt's power was based not on his family connections but his extraordinary parliamentary skills by which he dominated the House of Commons. He displayed a commanding manner, brilliant rhetoric, and sharp debating skills that cleverly utilized broad literary and historical knowledge.

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