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In what ways did the Irish Question change between 1800 and 1922?

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Introduction

In what ways did the Irish Question change between 1800 and 1922? The Irish Question changed dramatically between the years 1800 and 1922. The Anglican Ascendancy meant that Ireland was governed indirectly from England. The Ascendancy angered the Catholics, limited their rights and made them pay taxes to the Protestant church. This led to dissatisfaction amongst Catholics culminating in the 1798 Rebellion. This caused the British Government to become more involved with Ireland, as they began to fear that Revolution could occur. It revealed to them the weaknesses of the existing, divided system in Ireland and the need for the Question to be addressed. The Act of Union represented the first phase of the Irish Question. It was a response to the 1798 Rebellion and fears of Ireland possibly being used as a base for France to bring about revolution. It aimed to unite Ireland and England and to dissolve the Irish Parliament into the English Parliament. The British Government now had to take responsibility for Ireland, but it was still treated as a separate country and Duke of Wellington later described it as "the enemy's country". The divides between the English and the Irish and the Catholics and the Protestants that had existed before were strengthened to an even greater degree after the Act of Union. This was because Irish Protestants in the North gained both economically and religiously from the Act as they still continued to control Ireland via the Protestant Ascendancy; therefore they became pro-union, and favoured the Act of Union. ...read more.

Middle

Gladstone was not unaware of the political advantages of Irish Reform and so in 1868 the Irish Question was placed at the forefront of politics and the Government agenda. The first of Gladstone's Irish Reforms was the Irish Church Act in 1869. This disestablished and disowned the Anglican Church in Ireland. The second Irish Reform was the First Irish Land Act in 1870, which limited landlord's rights over their tenants and prevented evictions. This however did little to solve the problems of the Irish rural economy and it was ten years too late, because evictions were no longer an issue in the Irish Question. The Irish Universities Bill 1973 was the last of the Reforms, but this failed, because there were abstentions by Irish Liberal MP's and this led to the Liberals downfall in the 1874 election, indicating that the Irish Reforms were having an impact of the make up of the British Government. The key point about Gladstone's impact on the Irish Question is that even though some of his reforms were unsuccessful as he could not keep up with the continuous changing nature of the Irish Question, he may have averted more violent rebellion. The British Government was seen to be doing something about the situation in Ireland and so this may have limited further extremism. The Irish Land League was created in October 1879. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister suggested Dominion Status, which meant that Ireland was given full control over domestic affairs. However the Irish Parliament rejected this at first because the Treaty stated that they must swear allegiance to the crown. Northern Ireland was allowed to opt out of the Treaty, but a Boundary Commission would be set up so that it would rejoin the rest of Ireland eventually. The Treaty was very popular in Britain and passed through parliament easily, whereas in Ireland it brought great discord and argument. The Treaty had been a temporary measure to appease the split between North and South and to solve the Irish Question once and for all. This was not wholly successful though because it created peace in the South but there was continuing violence in the North. In conclusion it can be seen that the Irish Question had a changing nature over time, because of the impact of certain individuals, such as Gladstone and Parnell and outside events, such as, the First World War. There were common links and themes that occurred, such as, the British harsh responses to events, leading to increased support for extremists. The Irish Question differed for the Catholics and Protestants and the Catholic moderates and extremists, as they all had varied needs. It is apparent that the Irish Question still had not been answered after 1822, because the troubles continued to exist thereafter in the North. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rebecca Johnson Ms. Savage 8108 1 ...read more.

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