You'd never think something like 'The Simpsons' would go into debates about historic figures, but back in 1992 and in the third season episode, 'Homer at the Bat', one was front and centre - who was the greatest British Prime Minister - Lord Palmerston or Pitt The Elder?
First, a little context. We know that Barney Gumble was pitching for Lord Palmerston whilst Wade Boggs of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team was repping William Pitt, also known as Pitt The Elder.
Lord Palmerston's tenure as Prime Minister ran from 1859 to 1865 and saw the likes of the American Civil War, the London Conference of 1864 and Fenian attacks in Ireland against landed gentry. Pitt The Elder, meanwhile, served as Prime Minister from 1766 to 1768 and was the political leader of Great Britain during the Seven Years' War, which ultimately led to British dominance in world affairs for the following fifty, maybe even hundred years.
So, since we know that Wade Boggs and Barney Gumble were arguing on their legacies, we'll have to take up the argument right before Barney hit him in the face and knocked him out. With that in mind, we'll confine ourselves to merely their tenure as Prime Minister, and leave out their political careers leading up to that point and keep it to the major victories and losses.
Let's begin with Lord Palmerston.
At 70 years of age, Lord Palmerston was and still is the oldest ever person to assume the role of Prime Minister, and he signed the order to transfer control of India to the British East India Company, which massively curtailed the corruption and put checks on greed and larceny in the subcontinent.
Palmerston, although against slavery, had sympathies with the Confederacy during the US Civil War and was accused by the US government of complicity when the CSS Alabama, a raider ship, sailed from England and destroyed Union merchant ships during its service. He was also ardently against Irish independence and ordered more troops to Ireland to stamp out potential Fenian uprisings.
Palmerston is mostly remembered for helping to isolate Great Britain from Europe, and for stimulating nationalism with a smooth control of the press.
That's... probably good, but not really that good for everyone else.
Now let's look at Pitt The Elder.
Numerous historians agree that he was the greatest British statesman of the eighteen century, owing to his skillful negotiations to end the Seven Years' War. That's good. He did, however, fail to convince King George II to commute the death sentence of Admiral Byng owing to their own difficulties with one another. That's bad.
Pitt The Elder was also known for the conquest of Canada, which effectively ended the Seven Years' War on the American continent - that's good - but failed to pacify the colonies sufficiently, which ultimately led to the American War of Independence. That's... bad?
Conclusion? Difficult to say, and probably how the whole argument with Barney and Wade Boggs began in the first place.
Considering how Barney hit Wade Boggs square in the jaw for arguing Pitt The Elder, one could feasibly argue that Palmerston's control over the press of the day was so strong that it gave him the sheen of a great statesman and Prime Minister - and was enough to cause Barney to hit Wade Boggs.
That said, Pitt The Elder did have the Seven Years' War to contend with and complex negotiations in Europe that ultimately left Britain in a more favourable position, but his own personality and his inability to command friends in government left him less likely to be remembered, or enough for someone to throw a punch over.
Our choice? Pitt The Elder, probably.