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Constitutional rights in the Irish home rule bill of 1893.

Allen, Tom (2018) 'Constitutional rights in the Irish home rule bill of 1893.', Journal of legal history., 39 (2). pp. 187-215.


In 1893, Prime Minister Gladstone introduced the second Irish home rule bill in parliament. The bill broke with tradition in Britain and the empire, as it included provisions from the bill of rights of the United States. Its significance was clear at the time: it was debated for nine days in the committee stage and, with one minor amendment, it remained part of the bill that passed the Commons. However, the bill was defeated in the Lords and, at least in the United Kingdom, bills of rights were dismissed as unnecessary or detrimental to sound governance until well after the second world war. This article therefore tries to understand how this early bill of rights was regarded at the time. Who suggested, or demanded, its inclusion? How did they expect it to be applied? And how did the debate reflect and influence thinking about constitutional law in Britain and the empire?

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Constitutional history, Constitutional rights, Ireland.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Journal of Legal History on 22 Jun 2018, available online:
Date accepted:24 April 2018
Date deposited:05 July 2018
Date of first online publication:22 June 2018
Date first made open access:22 December 2019

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