He was educated at Eton College and Oxford where he was a member of Trinity College. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1754 to 1790 and first joined the government as a junior Lord of the Treasury on June 2, 1759 during the Newcastle-Pitt coalition. In December, 1767, he succeeded Charles Townshend as Chancellor of the Exchequer. When the Duke of Grafton resigned as Prime Minister, North formed a government on January 28, 1770. He resigned on March 27, 1782, as a result of the British defeat at Yorktown the year before. (He is famously supposed to have cried, "Oh God! It's all over! It's all over!" when this happened). Most of his government was focused first of the growing problems with the American colonies and later with the actual Revolutionary War.
In April, 1783, North returned to power as Home Secretary in an unlikely coalition with the radical Whig leader Charles James Fox known as the Fox-North Coalition under the nominal leadership of The Duke of Portland. George III, who detested Fox, never forgave this supposed betrayal, and North never again served in government after the ministry fell in December, 1783.
He left his seat in parliament when he went blind in 1790. Later he succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Guilford, so he spent his final years in the House of Lords. He died on August 5th, 1792 in London.
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