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Despite this violent rhetoric, the leaders of Fenianism delayed the promised revolution due to their belief in the futility of a military uprising during a period in which the British army was not engaged by an outside conflict. American Fenians, frustrated by these delays, and believing that their military strength would never be greater than it was in the period immediately following the American Civil War, ousted the original leaders of Fenianism in 1866. In their place were promoted individuals who resolved to go ahead with military attacks on the British, whatever the cost. The result was the Fenian raids on Canada in 1866 and the Fenian Rising in Ireland in 1867. These events were possible because the United States government did not hinder the Fenian Brotherhood as they armed and trained with the expressed purpose of attacking the British in both Canada and Ireland. Due to the importance of the Irish vote during the Reconstruction period and the unpopularity of the British diplomatic stance during the Civil War, American politicians of both political parties expressed support for the Fenians.
Because of the strength of American Fenianism and the unwillingness of the United States Government to hinder their military activities, traditional British policing methods failed to eliminate incidents of Fenian violence in the United Kingdom. While the activities of the IRB were drastically curbed by the suspension of habeas corpus in Ireland and the arrest and imprisonment of the editors of the Irish People in 1865, the activities of the Fenian Brotherhood in America continued unabated. The Liberal Government elected in December 1868, led by William Gladstone, attempted to address this problem by enacting a program of "justice for Ireland." This consisted of measures designed to pull supporters away from radical, militant Fenianism in both Ireland and the United States. Specifically, disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the reform of the Irish Land Laws were designed to convince moderates in both Ireland and the United States that it was possible to gain concessions from the British government and that it was not necessary to resort to violent Fenianism. The use of remedial legislation to address the problem of Fenian violence was made necessary by the trans-Atlantic nature of the organization.