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Was Gladstones reactions to the Irish Land War successful?

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Introduction

Was Gladstone's reactions to the Land War successful? The way Gladstone dealt with the Land War in Ireland was generally not successful as he had to dealt with the crisis through having a right balance between coercion and conciliation with Parnell, but in both aspects Gladstone failed, such as in the Kilmainham Treaty. However, Gladstone did have few successes despite the difficult situation such as his Land Act. The main reason why Gladstone's reaction to the Land War was generally unsuccessful was because of the Coercion Acts. The notion of coercion was suggested by Forster, the chief Secretary for Ireland, rather than Gladstone who in fact, was reluctant and even Chamberlain threatened to resign about the issue. Although, there was a 1881 Protection of Person and Property Act, which was a suspension of Habeas Corpus, this allowed for the Home Rule MPs to demonstrate their strength and exploit the weaknesses of the system in parliament due to their excessive filibustering that lasted a tedious 41 hours. Additionally, even though Parnell and his followers were held in Kilmainham goal and the Land League was proscribed, this endowed Parnell with a martyr's crown and simultaneously absorbing him from responsibility for the decline of the land league. ...read more.

Middle

Coercion was also balanced with the 1881 Land Act to relieve some of the problems of the farmers in Ireland, but even this had its shortcomings, hence Gladstone's reactions to the Land War being a general failure. The Act had brought short term problems as the definition of fair rent was ambiguous, whilst it did nothing to help the thousands of tenants that were already in arrears and on the point of eviction. Likewise, the main long term problem was that Parnell saw the act was victory for his tactics of ceaseless protesting and was determined more than ever to apply pressure on the government in this way until Home Rule was established. Hence the Land Act, although dealing with the Land War, had led into a more important problem of Home Rule, which eventually led to the Liberal Party splitting into factions. This shows why the Land Act's failures contributed to why Gladstone's reactions to the Land War were unsuccessful on a whole. Despite this, Gladstone did find some successes in the Land Act. As part of meeting the demand of the 3Fs by the Land League, Special Land Courts were set up to establish a fair rent and both landowner and tenant were to be bound by the court's decision. ...read more.

Conclusion

This demonstrates Gladstone's commitment to pacify Ireland in the context of the Land War, but it could be argued that Parnell's drive in his work with the Land League pushed Gladstone to act, rather than the findings of the Commission alone. Gladstone also found some successes in smaller acts. The 1882 Arrears Act cleared the rent arrears of all tenant farmers that had built up during the Land War. With the advice of Erskine May, the Clerk of the House of Commons, he introduced a new system of grand committees into the commons to deal with English, Scottish and Irish legislation separately, reorganising the Irish government. This suggests some successes in Gladstone's smaller acts. However, his Compensation for Disturbance Bill in 1880, was gesture to compensate certain classes of evicted tenants out of the Irish church surplus, but this failed as it was reject by the house of Lords showing that Gladstone's reaction to the Land War through his smaller acts were not always successful. Overall the way Gladstone dealt with the Land War in Ireland was on a whole, not successful. He tackled issues by balancing coercion and conciliation with Parnell, but failed in both aspects. However, Gladstone did have few successes despite the difficult situation such as his Land Act, but all in all he was unsuccessful. ...read more.

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