How Did Parnell Build A Successful Home Rule Party In Ireland Between 1880 1886

1288 words - 6 pages

The conservative party in Britain called a general election in March 1880. The liberal party were elected with Gladstone as their leader. 63 home rule mp’s were also elected and Parnell himself was elected in 3 constituencies. It was obvious that Parnell had gained much support through his leadership of the land league and this put him in a powerful position within the home rule party. 27 of the elected MP’s were supporters of Parnell and linked to the land league. Parnell then contested the leadership of the home rule party. He emerged as the winner with 21 votes, 3 more than his opponent, William Shaw.

The liberal party did not have a clear Irish policy but was becoming concerned ...view middle of the document...

The land league was banned and the government had little control over law and order in Ireland. Parnell and Gladstone agreed to a treaty in the spring of 1882. Parnell was to be released on the condition that he use his influence to end violence. In return for this the government would deal with the weakness of the 1881 land act. This is an achievement for Parnell as it shows he had more influence in Ireland then the government. It is an indication of how powerful Parnell had become that the British government had to compromise with someone it had jailed to regain law and order in Ireland.

Unfortunately for Parnell any sense of achievement he might have felt at the treaty evaporated after the phoenix park murders which took place four days after his release. On the 6th of May 1882 the chief secretary and the under secretary to Ireland were murdered in phoenix park. The murders were carried out by a splinter group of the IRB known as the Invincibles. This was particularly bad for Parnell as he was already suspected of having links with the IRB. He was appalled by the murders and issued a statement condemning it. He then considered resigning from politics though Gladstone among others persuaded him not to. The murders silenced any opposition from radicals in the home rule party had to the Kilmainham treaty. It also allowed a return to less radical politics.

Parnell now wanted the party to focus on the issue of home rule rather then land reform. His involvement in land reform had brought opportunities for the home rule cause. He was also determined to establish total control over the nationalist movement. He dissolved the ladies land league which had taken over the work of the land league after it had been banned. He was concentrating further power in his own hands. He established the Irish National League in 1882. Its main aims were home rule, land reform and extension of voting rights. The new movement had a large appeal because of is wide ranging aims. The league became a powerful movement and dominated Irish politics.

Parnell had a huge amount of control over the home rule party. He introduced the party pledge which stated that all the home rule MP’s would sit, act and vote together. Parnell wanted a tightly controlled party and the pledge also meant that anyone who disagreed with Parnell could be accused of disloyalty. The party members treated Parnell with respect though his leadership style may have at times seemed harsh. Some however thought him arrogant and believed he treated his MP’s in too casual a manner. However while he was encountering financial difficulties a public fund was started known as the Parnell...

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