Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Hamner

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access




The Victorian Age of English history produced many great political leaders. Among the best known are Chamberlain, Disreali, Palmerston, Salisbury, and Gladstone. These politicians were able to pacify many dissatisfied groups and produce many reforms. Yet one of the biggest problems they had to face was left unsolved throughout the Victorian period, and the later Edwardian period as well. This problem was Ireland.

This research project will deal with the man who made one of the most persistent efforts of the nineteenth century to solve the Irish problem. It will attempt to show how William Ewart Gladstone become one of the first English statesman to give serious consideration to the demands of Home Rule for Ireland. The purpose of this paper is to present an account of the change in the attitude of Gladstone toward Irish Home Rule, and the effect it had on the Liberal party; thereby showing the direction of the Irish Home Rule question to which his later life was so clearly bound.

Even though Gladstone headed the Liberal party during the later part of the nineteenth century, there were other dominent personalities who did not always agree with his decisions. The most serious breach in the party came when he publicly accepted the principle of Home Rule for Ireland. Joseph Chamberlain and his Radical followers veered off in one direction and Lord Hartington led his Whig aristocrats in still another. Gladstone thus, had to face two groups of "Liberals" reside the Conservative party in his battle for Home Rule.

In order to achieve the purpose of this paper a discussion of the two Home Rule bills, as they were introduced by Gladstone, is necessary. Though these bills had both strong and weak points, even as the man who originated them, the parliamentary battles carried on by Gladstone show his personal prestige, as well as his mental and physical capacities.

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