The Politics of Religion: Disestablishing the Irish Church
Gladstone was propelled into his first premiership in 1868 on the issue of Irish Church disestablishment. The American press from all religious and political backgrounds celebrated his accomplishment. Peterson demonstrates how Gladstone’s bill found palpable resonance in the United States. Many viewed it as emblematic of their aspirations for the global expansion of modern democracy and as a sign that the US system of government was destined to spread across Europe. Overt expressions of American exceptionalism were published as a result. Evangelicals and Catholics were jubilant in their belief that it was a providential act. The event was also a catalyst for numerous written expressions of anti-Catholicism, with evangelical commentators being the most vociferous.