West Civ^2 Blogging (L110)

(1) What arguments does Gladstone make in favor of Home Rule for Ireland?

During the 1800s, the overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland was ruled over by the Majorly Protestant England. While most political restrictions held over Ireland were lifted early in the century, Catholics were still required to pay a tax to the Protestant Church. William Gladstone, British Prime Minister, began protesting this unfair taxation in 1886, claiming that it was morally incorrect to subject the people in such a way. He also argued that Ireland would never accept British rule and rebel constantly unless the British would allow the Irish to govern themselves, but was quickly shut down. Despite his failure to free the Catholic Irish from all restrictions, he was praised as a statesman for pursuing the rights of others even when the odds were stacked against him.

(2) What was the Kulturkampf?

Kulturkampf was a cultural struggle between German statesman Otto van Bismarck and the Catholic Church that took place in the 1870s. Bismarck viewed the Church as a foreign interfering institution that prevented him from hammering his new empire into a single united front. Otto created law after law to limit the church in whatever ways he could, including removing the legal power for two people to join in matrimony from the Church’s hands and placing it in his own. With the use of these laws, he succeeded in wresting much of the Church’s control from the hands of the clergy. Church members and Clergy both were arrested or exiled by the thousands and a third of the monasteries and covenants in Prussia had been closed. Unfortunately for Otto, instead of being cowed, the Catholics rallied together to form a resistance called the Center Party. Although the Liberals, who hated the Church, viewed the battle between government and religion as a righteous civilization against a corrupt and ancient religious force, the Center Party won a huge amount of seats in the 1887 elections, gaining the upper hand once again. Bismarck was ultimately forced to accept defeat and reconcile with the Church and it’s new Pope, proving the Catholic Church’s supreme political power, even when downsized by the government.

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