Home Rule League

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Home Rule League
Founded1873; 151 years ago (1873)
Dissolved1882; 142 years ago (1882)
Preceded byHome Government Association
Succeeded byIrish Parliamentary Party
Political positionCentre to centre-left

The Home Rule League (1873–1882), sometimes called the Home Rule Party, was an Irish political party which campaigned for home rule for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, until it was replaced by the Irish Parliamentary Party.[1] The Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain was a sister organisation in Great Britain.


The Home Rule League grew out of the Home Government Association, a pressure group formed in 1870 and led by Isaac Butt, a Dublin based barrister who had once been a leading Irish Tory before becoming a convert to Irish nationalism. On 18–21 November 1873, the loose association re-constituted itself as a full political party, the Home Rule League, and in the 1874 general election, many of whom were from an Irish aristocratic or gentry Church of Ireland background, some newly dedicated former Irish Liberal Party members, such as Sir John Gray MP, and other more radical members who gathered around Cavan MP Joseph Biggar and Meath MP Charles Stewart Parnell. This radical wing of the party launched parliamentary filibusters to obstruct the passage of Parliamentary business, to the embarrassment of Butt and frustration of successive British governments.

Changes under Parnell[edit]

On 28 August 1877 Parnell was elected leader of the Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain in place of Butt. In January 1878, Butt retained control of the Home Rule League in Ireland, which had a more middle-class and less Fenian membership and structure.[2] The division affected the disciple of the parliamentary party at Westminster.[3]

Following Butt's death in 1879, William Shaw served as chairman (leader) for one parliamentary session. In 1880, Parnell was elected chairman of the party, and in the 1880 general election, the party increased its number of seats. In 1882, as part of a wholesale move from being an informal alliance to a cohesive unified, political movement Parnell renamed it the Irish Parliamentary Party to pursue Irish Home Rule. The party under Parnell, himself a Protestant, became more radical,[4] middle class, and Catholic. It largely, though not completely, squeezed out other political rivals, notably the Irish Liberal Party and the Irish Conservative Party.

Chairmen (leaders) of the Party, 1873–1882[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kearney, Hugh F. (2007). Ireland: Contested Ideas of Nationalism and History. NYU Press. p. 39ff. ISBN 9780814749302.
  • Jackson, Alvin. Home Rule: An Irish History 1800–2000 (2003), ISBN 978-1-84212-724-7


  1. ^ Alvin Jackson (2004). Home Rule: An Irish History, 1800–2000. Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-522048-3.
  2. ^ Hachey, Thomas E.; McCaffrey, Lawrence J. (2015). The Irish Experience Since 1800: A Concise History: A Concise History. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 9781317456117. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  3. ^ O'Day, Alan (1998). Irish Home Rule, 1867-1921. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719037764. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  4. ^ Kerby A. Miller (1985). Emigrants and exiles: Ireland and the Irish exodus to North America. Oxford University Press.

External links[edit]