Home Rule

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Home Rule was the name given to the campaign to bring about internal self-government in Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ireland had for centuries been ruled by the English (from 1707 the British) crown, and in 1801 the Irish Parliament was abolished and Ireland formally incorporated into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its MPs sitting at the UK parliament at Westminster. However, a powerful Irish nationalist party increasingly pressed for the restoration of powers of self-government to Ireland; from the later nineteenth century they were supported by the Liberal Party and its leader William Gladstone. However, Gladstone was unabvle to bring about Home Rule during his terms as Prime Minister because the House of Lords, the upper house of the British parliament, was dominated by the Conservative Party, which opposed Home Rule. The controversy also split the Liberal Party, with Liberal Unionists who opposed Home Rule breaking away and eventually joining the Conservatives (which is why the modern Conservative Party is officially 'the Conservative and Unionist Party'). A Home Rule law was eventually passed in 1914, but its operation was suspended for the period of the First World War. The Easter Rising of 1916 and subsequent Irish War of Independence of 1919-21 made Home Rule a dead letter in most of Ireland, which sought - and received - more or less complete independence (see Irish Free State), but a parliament on the Home Rule model was established in 1920 in Northern Ireland, and continued to rule Northern Ireland with considerable autonomy until it was dissolved by Prime Minister Edward Heath in 1972 at the height of the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'.

India also sought Home Rule.