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Do You Agree That The Failure Of The 1886 Home Rule Bill Was Due To ‘Tactical Mistakes’ Made By Gladstone?

718 words - 3 pages

Do you agree that the failure of the 1886 Home Rule Bill was due to ‘tactical mistakes’ made by Gladstone?

The failure of the home rule bill in 1886 was due, to a large extent, to the tactical mistakes made by gladstone, such as the failure to unite his party and his underestimation of conservative opposition towards the bill. However, it could also be argued that other factors, such as the sectarian nature of Irish society and subsequent opposition in Ulster also played a major role in the failure of the Home Rule Bill and thus inevitable regardless of Gladstone’s actions.

It could be argued that Gladstone’s failure to unite his party, during a time when their ultimate support and confidence in his leadership was crucial, was a significant tactical error that contributed heavily towards the failure of the 1886 Home Rule Bill. The results of the 1885 general election were to have a significant impact on the political landscape of Britain; despite winning the most seats, the Liberals did not have an overall majority.As Parnell and the Irish Parliamentry Party (IPP) held the balance of power between them and the Conservatives after winning a total of 86 seats out of a possible 86, severly diminishing the power of the Liberal party in Ireland, It became clear Gladstone would have to make the issue of Home Rule a priority to win the essential support of the Irish Nationalists.This exacerbated divisions within the Liberals over Irish Home Rule and led to an internal split within the Liberal Party; the Liberal Unionists, lead by Lord Harrington, were to present a serious obstical in Gladsone’s aim for Irish Home Rule.The Liberal Unionist’s views on Gladstone are clearly reflected in source 9, a diary entry written in 1885 from a politician who joined Lord Harrington and the Liberal Unionists:”Harrington does not think that Gladstone has a definite scheme”. The use of the phrase ‘definite scheme’ strongly implies the lack of confidence in Gladstone internally within the Liberal party; many believe he has no concrete plan and is merely attempting to satisfy the Irish nationalists to gain their support-a weak strategy which...

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