William Edward Baxter (1825 – 10 August 1890) was a Scottish businessman, Liberal politician and travel writer.
Born in Dundee, Angus, Baxter was educated at the High School of Dundee and Edinburgh University. He was the son of Edward Baxter, a benefactor and reformer who had opposed the corn laws. He became a partner in his father's firm of Edward Baxter & Co. (afterwards W. E. Baxter & Co.).
Baxter was Liberal Member of Parliament for Montrose Burghs from 1855 to 1885, and served under William Ewart Gladstone as Secretary to the Admiralty from 1868 to 1871 and as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1871 to 1873. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1873. He was also President of the first day of the 1883 Co-operative Congress.
He retired from Parliament in 1885. When the Liberal Party split over the issue of Irish Home Rule in 1886, Baxter supported the Unionist faction until his death.
William Edward Baxter was the grandson of William Baxter, the founder of the Baxter Brothers textile business. His uncle, Sir David Baxter, was a noted businessman and philanthropist and his aunt, Mary Ann Baxter was the co-founder of University College, Dundee.
W. E. Baxter's son was Sir