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Edmund Burke and the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914An Intellectual History$
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Emily Jones

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198799429.001.0001

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Irish Home Rule, c.1886–1893

Irish Home Rule, c.1886–1893

(p.114) 5 Irish Home Rule, c.1886–1893
Edmund Burke and the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914

Emily Jones

Oxford University Press

This chapter centres on the debates over Home Rule between 1886 and 1893, when the issue exploded onto the British political scene. It examines the Gladstonian argument for Home Rule with reference to Burke, as well as the subsequent Liberal Unionist response. Both sides made significant intellectual bids for Burke’s mantle: the Gladstonians sought to establish voluntary political ties (‘the union of hearts’) between Britain and Ireland in an array of parliamentary speeches, periodical articles, edited books, and popular pamphlet literature. The Liberal Unionists looked to Burke’s wider work to show their adherence to the Liberal tradition. The Home Rule debates re-imagined Burke as a proto-Liberal Unionist, agreeable to and allied with Conservatives. The ‘spirit of Burke’ was, therefore, eventually seen to be embodied best of all in the Liberal Unionists who resurrected an anti-Jacobin vocabulary and styled themselves as Old Whigs defending the constitution.

Keywords:   Edmund Burke, Irish Home Rule, W. E. Gladstone, Liberal Party, Liberalism, Liberal Unionism, Conservative Party, French Revolution, party identity

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