Later career and life
In his later Parliamentary career Joseph Cowen became increasingly independently minded. This independence caused frequent clashes with the leadership of the Liberal Party, then with his Newcastle peers, and ultimately with the whole Party. He was known for his stance against Party discipline and mass organisation, both of which would later become key in the mobilisation of trade union discipline and organisation by the Labour party in the North East. This stance against the Liberal Party would eventually cuase the breakup of his relationship with the Durham Miners' Association, whose members had been, until that point, some of his most loyal supporters.
On 18th March 1880, Joseph Cowen entered a public meeting of the electors of Newcastle. During an incident Cowen was crushed and injured internally, and he never wholly recovered from the effects. Despite his injury, Cowen was re-elected and retired at the general election in 1886. After this period, he continued his public speaking and remained in charge of the Newcastle Chronicle until his sudden death on 18 February 1900.