• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Parnell and the Irish Question Why did Gladstone fail to pacify Ireland?

Extracts from this document...


Parnell and the Irish Question Why did Gladstone fail to pacify Ireland? Gladstone's adoption of interest in Irish affairs in 1867 puzzled many of his contemporaries and has continued to puzzle historians. Up until 1867 Gladstone had shown very little sympathy towards the Irish, all his life he had held them in contempt, visiting only once. His 'mission to pacify Ireland' was surprising and his motives suspect. Many historians believe that Ireland was a cause through which Gladstone was to unify his divided party. Others have said that it was in reaction to the agrarian violence raging through Ireland, it was clear that something had to be done. Gladstone declared that it was his 'high hope and ardent desire' that Ireland would be united to Scotland and England by 'enduring ties of free will and free affection, peace, order and a settled and cheerful industry'. It is clear from the situation in Ireland today that Gladstone did not achieve his highly ambitious and rather idealistic aims. Although there was no lack of legislation to deal with the 'Irish Question' it seemed to have little effect. However the situation in Ireland was exceptional, it was plagued by religious differences, social and political unrest, a stagnant industry and backward farming methods. Gladstone was faced with a highly challenging and unenviable task; his commitment to Ireland did not win him popularity in England where there was a significant amount of Anti-Irish and Anti-Catholic sentiment. ...read more.


As Eugenio F. Biagini points out in his book 'Gladstone', 'with the onset of the agricultural depression the extent to which Ireland had no been pacified became evident.' Just as the motives of the First Land Act have been questioned, so too have those of the Second. It was at this time that the Land League was particularly powerful. The Land League was believed to be active in promoting the wave of agrarian violence that was sweeping the country in what has become known as the Land War of 1879-81; a campaign launched by aggrieved farmers against a 'pestiferous' landlord class. Ireland seemed to be on the brink of social revolution, Gladstone believed that the only long term solution was further land reform. However, the 2nd Land Act has been described as 'less an economic policy than a political stroke to destroy the 'raison d'etre' of the Land League'. Act 2 was little better than the first in addressing Irish interests; Gladstone ignored calls from many land reformers for land reclamation and improvement that was desperately needed in rural Ireland. Instead he concentrated on removing the necessity for violence by granting the tenants their demands, still managing to avoid tackling the heart of the problem. The Act failed not only in this respect but also in the respect that it demoralised Land Lords whose control over their estates was waning. ...read more.


Gladstone's Home Rule Bills were however his greatest failing. As Paul Adelman argues 'Gladstone's personal and obsessive commitment to Home Rule resulted in his underestimation of the problems involved in getting a measure accepted.' Another great blunder was the imprisonment of Parnell who many considered the 'uncrowned King of Ireland', this aroused feelings of hostility and indignation in Ireland, damaging to Gladstone's cause. It could be argued that Parnell and the Land League contributed to social unrest in Ireland and to the reasons for Gladstone's failure, however it could also be argued that by not granting the Irish what they sincerely wanted and needed in the first land Act that the nationalism which allowed the Land League to succeed was unwittingly engineered by Gladstone. However, Gladstone's ultimate failure was that he failed, in almost every area of Irish Policy to produce legislation to satisfy both Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics, as Tim Hodge points out 'He failed to recognise that in any solution to the Irish problem needed to reconcile the interests of both Catholic and Protestant Ireland5'. The Home Rule Bills with their failure to make special provisions for the province of Ulster are a prime example of this ignorance. 1 'Great Britain and the Irish Question' - Paul Adelman 2 'Great Britain and the Irish Question' - Paul Adelman 3'Great Britain and the Irish Question' - Paul Adelman 4'Great Britain and the Irish Question' - Paul Adelman 5 'Parnell and the Irish Question' - Tim Hodge ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Northern Ireland 1965-85 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Northern Ireland 1965-85 essays

  1. Development of Irish Nationalism 1798-1921

    Redmond had fatally undermined his position in the party and in Ireland by his support for partition and Irishmen switched to SF in their droves. FSL Lyons said 'the whole constitutional movement, in the last analysis was the chief casualty of 1916'.

  2. the Irish question

    Once again England's problems were to affect Ireland. In 1688 king James II lost the throne for trying to restore the Roman Catholic religion to England. He turned to Louis XIV of France and Ireland (both Catholic countries) for support.

  1. How far do the sources support the view that Irish Nationalism was an 'increasingly ...

    Their causes included Roman Catholic Emancipation, repeal of the Act Of Union, attaining economic improvements, Home Rule and the revival of the Irish culture. These Nationalist leaders advanced their causes to varying degrees of effectiveness in the years 1801 - 1900.

  2. The Irish Question

    Daniel O'Connell is the main moderate Nationalist hero as he got what he wanted through peaceful methods and the modern day moderate Nationalists such as the SDLP try to follow in his footsteps and completely dismays anyone who tries to achieve what they want through other such violent methods.

  1. Northern Irelandsince c.1960 - questions and answers

    They wanted to terminate sectarian and make sure Catholics and Republicans had the same opportunities for jobs, housing, law and education. This peaceful organization was inspired by Martin Luther King's civil rights campaigns which had been growing across the USA since the mid-1950s.

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

    Government Bureaucracy and it was too slow to respond because they found it difficult to administer relief." The Irish Question has been interpreted differently by the various historians, but at the time the Extreme Nationalists believed that the British were to blame, because they thought that the British hadn't reacted quickly enough to the situation; therefore this increased extremist sentiment.

  1. Conflict in Ireland

    Peoples first reactions towards the rebels was hostile, they were shocked and angry. They spat and verbally abused them as they were being taken away to be shot. People blamed them for the deaths and destruction that had been caused by the Rising.

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

    However as the franchise qualification was raised to a �10 household suffrage, it cut the electorate to one sixth of its former size; therefore limiting Catholic suffrage. O'Connell proclaimed that the Act was 'One of the greatest triumphs recorded in history-a bloodless revolution.'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work