Account for the changing fortunes of Liberalism

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  • Created by: Anya
  • Created on: 12-12-14 15:37

#1 Deestablishment of the church

  • The most important ecclesiastical issue penetrating scottish politics was the issue of deestablishment. This was the idea that the Church of Scotland was priviliged due to its connection with the state and it should be put on an equal footing with the other churches. This was a 'British' issue as deestablishers were boosted by the deestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1869 and continuing campaigns in Wales and England.
  • Political parties were split on this issue. The conservatives were strong advocates of deestablishment, while the Liberal party was divided: the party was led by a man who venerated the Church of England, which scottish deestablishment could be seen to threaten, but largely supported by people who disapproved of the established churches.
  • In scotland, although there was an increasing number of radical liberals who supported deestablishment, there was also an increasing number of whigs, many of whom were liberals, who did not support deestablishment.
  • Although the church question was the issue, what crystallized the division in the party was the moderates reaction to the leftward drift of liberalism - this can be seen as because in terms of parliament the question of deestablishent remained on the fringes, despite the best efforts of enthusiasts like Charles Cameron.
  • The conservatives had a far easier task: there were few tories who supported the cause and the rhetoric of leaders were in a harsh condemnation of destablishment.

#2 Home rule movement

  • The disagreements over home rule brought a new idea to scottish politics, that of unionism.
  • This was facilitated by 3 factors: 1. a renewed agrarian crisis in Ireland, replicated in some areas of Scotland, 2. the consequent land agitation, also replicated in some areas of scotland and 3. the return of a large body of irish mps all in support of home rule.
  • Irish home rule for the first time introduced a…


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