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Why did the liberal government try and fail to give Home Rule to Ireland in the years 1920-1914?

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Why did the liberal government try and fail to give Home Rule to Ireland in the years 1920-1914? In his speech at the Albert Hall on December 10th 1909, Asquith, the Prime Minister at this time, made what many saw as a definite commitment to introduce a Home Rule Bill for Ireland in the next parliament if the liberals were re-elected. Two years later, after the long drawn out constitutional crisis came to an end, the liberal government introduced the Home Rule Bill of 1912 . Some historians, such a Patricia Jalland saw the introduction of the bill as a result of an ideological, long standing commitment. She argues that the liberals must have had an overwhelming belief in home rule if they were prepared to endure the stresses that followed its introduction. She severely opposes the common view that the bill was only introduced due to over-reliance on Irish Nationalist votes in order to maintain liberal power, as the liberals would have still had a majority, without the support of the Irish Nationalists. ...read more.


Britain also still made any financial decisions for Ireland. If anything, the introduction of the home rule bill would have effectively been like placing some Irish people in the existing British House of Lords - they would have gained minimal influence, but absolutely no power. This bill, however limited, still nearly caused a civil war. The conservatives, who were now lead by Andrew Bonar-Law, a much tougher character than his predecessor Balfour, were determined to vehemently oppose the bill. Bonar-Law, who had grown up in Ulster, was particularly sympathetic to the outlook of the Ulster Unionists, those fighting for Ireland to remain a part of the Britain. Law argued that the liberals had no enthusiasm for the Home Rule Bill, and that it was simply a 'corrupt bargain' between Asquith and Redmond, introduced only to retain Irish votes and prop up the government. Although the bill easily passed through the House of Commons, it was severely rejected by the House of Lords, as predicted. ...read more.


However, historians such as Graham Dangerfield see Carson as constitutionalists who was shrink from open insurrection. His profession of a lawyer suggests that he would have acted politically and legally, without violence. The same cannot be said for James Craig, however, who was single mind, obstinate and determined at all costs to resist the bill, using ANY means possible, and ultimately, armed resistance. Initially, resistance took the form of demonstrations and meetings. Both leaders were present when 100,000 people marched through Balmoral, two days prior to Asquith's introduction of the bill to the House of Commons. This displayed the solidarity of Protestant Ulster, and soon after 'Covenant Day' was announced as an official holiday. It was marked by more parades, demonstrations and signings of 'The Solemn League and covenent' which was signed by a quarter of a million men, some of which supposedly signed in their own blood, a small reflection of what was to follow. Although the Ulster volunteer force was certainly an illegal operation (by this time they had drilled and trained volunteer soldiers), they felt justified ...read more.

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