Charles Roden Buxton was born on the 27 November 1875 in London, England, and was educated at Harrow, and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1897 he went to South Australia to act briefly as Private Secretary to his father, who was the Governor. He then visited India, Malaya, Japan and China, and travelled to Texas where he spent 6 months on a cattle ranch, before returning to London.
In 1901 Buxton started to give lectures in English Literature at Morley College; he was Principal of the College from 1902-1910. He also began reading for the Bar, to which he was called in 1902, but felt increasingly drawn towards politics as the medium for promoting his social ideals. In 1906 he contested East Hertfordshire as a Liberal, but it was not until 1910 that he entered Parliament as Liberal Member for the Mid or Ashburton Division of Devon. In 1912, David Lloyd George invited him to become Honorary Secretary to the Land Enquiry Committee.
In 1917 Buxton joined the Independent Labour Party and became a Member for Accrington (1922-1923) and for Elland Division of the West Riding (1929-1931). In 1926 he was appointed Parliamentary Adviser to the Labour Party, a post he resigned in October 1939.
At the beginning of World War I, Buxton went on an unofficial mission to the Balkans with his brother Edward Noel Buxton, MP (Lord Noel-Buxton), with the object of securing the neutrality of Bulgaria and thus checking the spread of the war. In November 1914, with Ramsay MacDonald, Charles Trevelyan and E.D. Norel, he founded the Union of Democratic Control, to promote peace by negotiation on the basis of a settlement just to all those involved. From this time until his death in 1942 he worked unremittingly for peace and the equitable distribution of the world's land and resources.