CLIO mr brice - page 50

Disraeli had waited a long time to fulfil this role.
He began by amending unsatisfactory acts passed by
Gladstone, and introduced the idea of ‘One Nation
Conservatism’- creating a paternalistic relationship
between the upper and lower classes. Gladstone left
politics and retired to his home, Hawarden Castle, in
Wales, finding solace in chopping down trees on his
land.
Although Disraeli has been described as being very
reliant upon his ministers, and adopting a very aggressive
foreign policy, he did make some profound changes to
the working classes. Disraeli’s problem was ignoring the
Irish question which Gladstone had been so obsessed
by. As agrarian violence grew and religious divides
deepened, Disraeli swept the issue under the carpet
and this severely affected Gladstone who could stand
it no longer. By 1880, Disraeli was weakening, both
politically and physically. Gladstone saw this as his
golden opportunity to re-enter politics and finally finish
his mission of pacifying Ireland, as well as expanding
the franchise which hadn’t been changed since 1867.
Moreover, Gladstone had not forgotten Disraeli’s attack
on his foreign policy in 1872, and thus his pamphlet,
‘The Eastern crisis and Bulgarian Atrocities’, which
picked apart Disraeli’s foreign and imperial blunders,
can be seen as a late revenge which succeeded in
damaging Disraeli’s reputation. At one stage, Disraeli
was struggling so much that he offered the position
to Gladstone who spitefully refused, wishing to see
his enemy stumble through his final ministry. After
Disraeli’s death, Gladstone carried on as Prime Minister
from 1880-1885, 1886 and then 1892-4. Gladstone’s
life was dominated by the problem of Ireland and their
pursuit of Home Rule, having to deal with the rise of
militant nationalism and issues in parliament. Gladstone
retired in 1894 and died in 1898.
Both Gladstone and Disraeli made a lasting
impression on British history and politics. These two
great figures may have bitterly loathed each other, but
there is no denying that each made an enormous impact.
For generations to come, historians and politicians alike
will continue to analyse and discuss the biggest personal
and political conflict of the 19th century.
By Georgia Whybrow-Harris
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