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In the mid-1880s English political leaders found it essential to develop new policies for Ireland. While the liberals, led by Gladstone, were converted to the home-rule solution, the tories sought to preserve the union with a two-pronged policy. First, Ireland’s economic disorders were to be cured by vigorously developing the system of state-aided land purchase, and by having the imperial treasuly assume a large portion of the cost of developing the country’s natural resources and industrial potential. This aspect of the policy rested upon the tory conviction that Irish support of home rule would diminish in direct proportion to significant economic and social advance. The second part of the policy called for the establishment of a democratic system of local government which was to be the limit of political concessions to Irish nationalist sentiment.
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