Government of India Act

(1919)

About the Author

As with most legislation, identifying a particular author is difficult, for any bill is likely to be the work of numerous legislators. Further, because the Government of India Act of 1919 was in large part an amendment of earlier acts of Parliament, it contains provisions written by the authors of those earlier acts. Nonetheless, two authors stand out, for the bill essentially enacted the reforms suggested by Edwin Montagu, the secretary of state for India, and Lord Chelmsford, India's viceroy at the time. Their conclusions were presented to the British Parliament as the Montagu-Chelmsford Report, which formed the core of the 1919 act.

Edwin Samuel Montagu, only the second Jew ever to serve in the British cabinet, was born in 1879. He entered politics in 1906, when he was elected to a seat in Parliament. In the years that followed he served in a variety of government posts, including undersecretary of state for India from 1910 to 1914. In 1917 he was...

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