Irish Nationalism

	 Irish Nationalism
Nationalist opinion fluctuated between three main traditions;
constitutional nationalism, republicanism and cultural nationalism,
reflecting changing opinions at the time.
Source one was written by a founder of the Fenian organisation, which was formed after the 1848 rising. The source is limited through being written in America where Irish-Americans would have been the audience to rally support for Clan na Gael. In the source, Mitchel criticises O? Connell for dangerously deviating from the goal of independence by contenting ?Respectable Catholics? and turning them into ?West-Britons? through Catholic Emancipation. He also criticises the Catholic Church for being ?the enemy of Irish freedom?, referring to Archbishop Cullen?s denouncing of the Fenian society just two years before. This reflects the complications of conducting a revolutionary movement in a Catholic country. The source criticises O? Connell for ?eternally half-unsheathing a visionary sword? by threatening violence but not realising the threat, showing evidence that constitutional nationalism was increasingly complicated due to contradictions in its pacifist theory and O? Connell?s aggressive practice. Therefore, source one supports the view that Irish nationalism was an ?increasingly complicated and many branched tree?. Sources two and three attempt to define nationalism. Source two specifically highlights the two traditions of nationalism to be the ?O? Connellite? tradition and that of Young Ireland and Wolf Tone. It fails to identify Clan na Gael or cultural nationalism as other branches, perhaps suggesting that these could be seen as pressure groups rather than branched because of their absence of political representation. In Source three Norman also identifies two forms of nationalism, classifying those who ?sought to redefine the direction of sovereignty?like O? Connell (and) Parnell? as ?radicals?, and defines those who sought to replace sovereignty like the Fenians to be nationalists. Therefore, Norman produces further complications in the definition of nationalism. In source two, Hoppen claims both traditions to be ?full of contradictions?, both referring to the same audience of ?the people?, adding to nationalism?s complicated nature. He argues that ?As the angle of vision differed so did the perception of the beholder?, meaning that ?the people? were who the nationalists leaders believed them to be. ?For Lalor?(they were) the farmers; for Davis they were the rustics; for O? Connell they were?Catholics?. This implies three distinctions, at different times, within constitutional nationalism. Thus, sources two and three as well as source one, support the view that Irish nationalism was an ?increasingly complicated?tree?. However, sources two and three are two very individual viewpoints. The study of further historical viewpoints, like Lyons? for example, would be very useful to created a more balanced view. Source four was written in 1880 with an economic crisis on the horizon. This saw the formation of the Irish National Land League by Michael Davitt to protect the rural population. Parnell was its president but the speech depicts Parnell?s stance in an unclear light. He talks of ?Christian? and ?charitable? ways of dealing with those who bid for a farm from which another tenant was evicted. However, later he implies violence by telling the crowd that he would like to see where they would get the men to make those who didn?t pay rent, pay. This is a contradiction in constitutional nationalism and agrees with source one?s criticisms of O? Connell and his ?eternally half-unsheathed visionary sword?. Source five clearly shows how the nature of nationalism changes over, and is shaped by, time and events. The Irish Parliamentary Party was founded after the collapse of the Fenian uprising. Parnell, the leader, appealed to all sections of nationalist opinion. Therefore, the source shows that with the collapse of Fenianism, constitutional nationalism was adopted; meaning nationalism?s formation was subject to events. This is a further complication in the ?many branched tree? of nationalism. Source six, a secondary source, shows the Church?s position towards nationalism and claims that the Church had ?inevitable reservations (about)?the justifiability of violence? but otherwise supported nationalists. Only when restraint proved impossible would it follow for fear of losing the power to lead. Furthermore, parish priests tended to support revolutionaries, whereas bishops were more conservative. The source identifies only two types of nationalism and shows that ambiguity of the church?s attitude complicates nationalism. Source seven identifies another form or branch of nationalism: cultural nationalism. This is the revival of the native Irish language and customs to win the world?s recognition of Ireland being a separate nation. The source shows that Hyde argued that the Gaelic Athletic Association had done ?more good for Ireland in five years that all the talk for 60?. This shows cultural nationalism to not only be distinctly separate from constitutional nationalism, but also critical of it. It shows that the Gaelic League campaigned against all forms of ?West-Britonism?, like Mitchell in Source one. Therefore, cultural nationalism would claim that constitutional nationalism to be a dangerous deviation from the goal of nationalism. However, cultural nationalism may not be a branch because it is not a political grouping. Thus, the source agrees that Irish nationalism was an ?increasingly complicated and many branched tree?. As a combined unit, the sources generally support the view. Each has a different slant on Irish nationalism but intentions of some authors may be questioned and some sources fail to identify more than two branches. Branches not mentioned include Clan na Gael and greater complications involve the fact that new branches like the irb and the Labour movement were developing. Nevertheless, we still gain a valuable insight into Irish nationalism in the nineteenth century. However, one cannot pinpoint what form Irish nationalism took as it has continually evolved. To do so would simply by a ?snapshot? at a single moment. How effectively did Irish Nationalist leaders advance their cause in the years 1801 ? 1900? The Act of Union, a major turning point in Irish politics, came about on 1st January 1801 and was designed to solve the Irish problem. It did not work and it gave birth to many different causes being advanced by different leaders. Nationalist leaders of the Republican persuasion after Wolf Tone include Emmet, Davis, Mitchell and Duffy. Those of the Constitutional nationalist denomination include O?Connell, Parnell and Davitt and Cultural nationalist leaders include Yeats, Hyde and Cusack. Their causes included Roman Catholic Emancipation, repeal of the Act Of Union, attaining economic improvements, Home Rule and the revival of the Irish culture. These Nationalist leaders advanced their causes to varying degrees of effectiveness in the years 1801 ? 1900. Some things such as emancipation were achieved and others such as repeal were not. Irish nationalism at the beginning of the nineteenth century took its inspiration from the French Revolution of 1789 and more practically sought French help for their own revolution. Robert Emmet was one such revolutionary who became involved in the United Irishmen ? an organisation formed in 1791 by Wolfe Tone to achieve Catholic Emancipation and with Presbyterian co-operation, parliamentary reform. With the promise of French military aid secured, Emmet organised an insurrection in July 1802. This ill-timed rising ended in confusion with various factions failing to heed a call to arms and French invasion failing to materialise. He was captured and in response to his death sentence, he said ?When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then shall my character be vindicated, then my epitaph written?. This speech to the court could be regarded as the last protest of the United Irishmen, and one of the most famous speeches of the period. ?Although his life was short and his struggle in vain, his efforts, vision and idealism left a mythic mark on Irish?history?1. Thus, although the rising was a fiasco, Emmet had, in entering martyrdom, advanced his cause of republicanism to a huge extent. However, republicanism would not come to the fore again until 1848. The failure to implement Catholic Emancipation along with the Act of Union in 1801 had left Catholics with a serious grievance but it would not be until the 1920?s that Irish politics became popular with the formation of the Catholic Association under Daniel O?Connell. The Association achieved mass membership by imposing a subscription of one penny per month known as the ?Catholic rent? that was collected outside mass each Sunday, which the poorest could afford. The Prime Minister, Wellington, and the Home Secretary, Peel, did not like the notion of Emancipation but realised that they would have to introduce it as O? Connell was using violent rhetoric and they feared civil unrest. The Bill passed in April 1829, a great victory for O?Connell and the Association, and was a turning point in Irish politics showing the power of public opinion. However, at the time O?Connell was facing moderate-minded ministers and a divided House of Commons. Nevertheless, Catholic Emancipation was achieved under O?Connell?s leadership, so he was effective. The strong links with the Catholic Church had aroused Protestant fears and this led to the polarisation of politics along religious lines2 and the coalition of Catholics and Presbyterians in the United Irishmen movement disappeared. When O?Connell turned his attention to the Repeal of the Act of Union in 1840, the Protestant classes were increasingly defensive. O?Connell formed the Repeal Association, which produced more funds than the Catholic rent had ever done. He secured the backing of the Catholic clergy again and used monster meetings like the one a Tara in 1843, which attracted around 750,000 people. However, the House of Commons was united against repeal in 1843 and the government banned a monster meeting due to be held on 8th October 1843 at Clontarf. O?Connell, a lawyer, complied and slowly the movement lost its momentum. Therefore, O?Connell?s conformist nature lost him the support of the masses, which could be seen as a failure on his part as leader, and its ineffectiveness in particular in this cause. In 1842, a weekly newspaper was formed to assist O?Connell in the repeal campaign. A group of young men known as the ?Young Irelanders? led by Thomas Davis, Charles Duffy and John Mitchel broke away from O?Connell in 1844. They distanced themselves from the Catholic Church in order to attract Protestant support. They believed that the uproar in Irish society caused by the agrarian crisis demanded action, and not political theorising. However, the ?Great Hunger? limited their influence over the poorer farmers. Disagreement forced the group into a spontaneous uprising in 1848, which quickly collapsed. However, they reintroduced the violent legacy, and the cause of, the United Irishmen Thus, the 19th Century had seen two failed uprisings but ?taken together, these rebellions established a revolutionary tradition in Irish nationalism and provided an inspiration to later generations of violent nationalists?2. However, the impact upon the Irish people in 1848 was extremely limited and the leadership could thus be seen as vastly ineffective in advancing their cause. In 1850, Charles Duffy, one of Davis? close colleagues had tried to form an all-Ireland League of Tenant Farmers to achieve fair rents, fixity of tenure and freedom to sell land ? the ?3 Fs?. It collapsed because some of its leaders were seen as working for their own gains, rather than those of the League ? another example of ineffective leadership. The next phase of the national movement saw a fierce repudiation of constitutionalism (Lyons). The ?Great Hunger? generated mass political bitterness and could therefore be considered as a turning point in Irish politics, but it was some time before this influenced the political will of the people. James Stephens was a key figure in the Fenian (irb) organisation, which was founded in 1858. Their cause was independence, claiming that a deviation from this would be pathological. They believed in the complete separation from the Church and state, which made it hard to conduct an uprising effectively. On the night of 15th September 1865, the offices of the ?Irish People? were raided and most of the Fenian leaders were arrested, leaving it to Thomas Kelly to attempt an uprising in March 1867 (Lyons). However, the broad lines of what was going on in secret and the identities of all the important people involved had been known to the government through their system of informers. Public opinion had been impassive, as was characteristic of sporadic violent risings of the time, and along with condemnation from the Catholic Church the uprising was doomed. However, despite these drawbacks, Fenianism had a profound affect on one Liberal Prime Minister Gladstone, whom pledged to bring ?justice to Ireland?. He was to disestablish the Church of Ireland and pass a land Act in his first administration of 1868 ? 1874. Gladstone?s support for Home Rule allowed Parnell, leader of the Home Rule Party, to use his balance of power in the House of Commons to maximum effect. In addition the use of obstructionism maintained the pressure on Gladstone to deliver concessions. Thus, despite the ineffectiveness of the rising, Fenianism?s legacy indirectly provoked considerable change. Nevertheless, the lack of leadership as well as other factors meant that the Fenians advanced the cause of independence to a feeble extent. Parnell was fortunate that Gladstone ?recognised that Irish opposition to English rule in Ireland stemmed from genuine grievances that were the responsibility of Westminster?3. The objective of the Home Rule movement was an Irish parliament with control over domestic affairs. Their main support came from the Catholic middle classes. Isaac Butt, founder, and Parnell, elected MP in 1875, campaigned for amnesty for Fenian prisoners. One such prisoner was Michael Davitt. In 1878 Davitt began a movement to protect the tenant farmers called the Irish National Land League. Parnell agreed to be its president. Parnell appealed to all sections of nationalist opinion. Clan na Gael gave financial help and the Catholic clergy gave their backing. The ?Land Wars? that followed 1879-82 was a popular movement, attracting an impassioned following. Parnell and Davitt advanced their cause very effectively because a rebellion like the land war required not only anger but leadership and organisation as well. Economic considerations were also significant when assessing the impact of nationalism on the masses of the Irish people. Parnell realised the need to fuse the Home Rule cause with the Land reform cause in order to rally the mass of the population. This is known as the ?New Departure?, which could be considered a major turning point in Irish history. O?Connell had been able to achieve improvements for the middle classes whereas Parnell realised that support must be gained from the poorer population. Parnell attracted support from Davitt and Devoy by allying political and economic aims by stressing the need for independence in order to achieve land ownership. The achievement of such mass support shows that the leadership of this movement was highly effective. Home Rulers were returned for every seat outside Ulster and Trinity College Dublin and Gladstone recognised the ?fixed desire of a nation? introducing a Home Rule Bill in 1885. It was defeated in the House of Commons, but Home Rule had enthused nationalist Ireland and changed the course of Irish politics. However, Parnell had been ruined by the O?Shea divorce, leaving nationalist Ireland leaderless for ten years. A link has thus appeared between periods of nationalist inactivity with a lack of leadership and effective organisation. After the Parnell split, and during the last decade of the nineteenth century, cultural nationalism became popular. This took the form of the Gaelic Athletic Association, founded by Michael Cusack with the powerful backing of Dr. Croke, Archbishop of Cashel, the Anglo-Irish literary revival, led by Yeats, and the Gaelic League, founded by Hyde and Mac Neill. Croke had been a noticeable supporter of the Land League agitation, but it was the Gaelic Athletic Association that allowed him to denounce English culture. The clergy believed that gaelic games distracted the young from the lure of revolutionary activity. The Gaelic Athletic Association had a powerful political undercurrent and made a major contribution to the revival of national feeling in rural Ireland. Yeats believed that without a unique intellectual life of kind, the Irish could no longer preserve their nationality. Many of the literary talents of the time joined the movement and between them, they revived and romanticised the early legends and history of Ireland. The aim of the Gaelic League was the revival of the Irish language, believing that an Irish culture could only be created by de-Anglicisation. Although it was not a political movement, it influenced the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Labour Movement and Sinn Féin, both groups formed at the end of the century, who continued the fight for independence into the twentieth century. In conclusion, the failure of the British government to repeal the Penal Laws fully after the passing of the Act of Union had repercussions, which Becket saw as ?mounting Catholic demands for religious equality and the end of Protestant Ascendancy (which) developed into an attack on the union?. Winstanley argues that the struggle for Irish freedom and demands for an independent republic started with Wolfe Tone and that this tradition was maintained by Emmet, Young Ireland, Fenianism and Sinn Féin, none of which were effective. However, these were minority groups and political mobilisation on a wider scale arguably began with the formation of O?Connell?s Catholic Association. The aim of Catholic Emancipation was achieved under O?Connell?s leadership, so he was effective, however, he was not so lucky in his repeal campaign where he lost the support of the masses, resulting in him failing to achieve his aim. The impact of the Young Irelander rebellion on the Irish people in 1848 was extremely limited but they left behind a legacy of the use of physical force to gain separation from England. Charles Duffy?s all-Ireland League of Tenant Farmers collapsed because of ineffective leadership. The Fenians were corrupt with informers, public opinion had been unresponsive, the Catholic Church condemned them and they lacked leadership. However, Fenianism had a profound effect on Gladstone, thus, despite the ineffectiveness of their rising, Fenianism?s legacy indirectly provoked considerable change. Constitutional forces organised at first by O?Connell and then fostered by Davitt and Parnell had through the century motivated the people politically toward the demand for change and a repeal of the Act of Union 4. Parnell did not achieve Home Rule but resuscitated the Catholic grievance. Cultural nationalism raised local interest and pride and it influenced the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Labour Movement and Sinn Féin. It was thus effective in using non-political means to influence political change in Ireland. Therefore, there were many different causes, methods and leaders in this period. The causes were advanced with varying degrees of effectiveness, but collectively, the nationalist leaders of this period paved the way for the 1902 Wydham Land Act 1902, which brought land issues in Ireland to an end, the Easter Rising in 1916, the War of Independence and Independence itself in 1921. The British Government, whether through concessions of coercion lead to key individuals, particularly O?Connell, Davitt and Parnell mobilising the people and developing nationalist passions during this period. Coercion and concessions encouraged the discontented to seek rewards. O?Connell?s mass protest movement and Parnell?s obstructionism at Westminster were methods that achieved limited success. Revolutionary activity, despite its immediate failure, created a tradition of violent opposition to British rule.

Irish Nationalism 9.8 of 10 on the basis of 3342 Review.