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Outline

Origins

· Irish nationalism was not seeing an Irish nation-state, but rather a range of nationalisms competing for political space and influence in Ireland.

· Three forms of nationalism- Unionist, constitutional, and republic. All caused different views of the meaning and implications of Irelan’s identity, borders, and governance.

· These forms of nationalism not only affected the notion of an Irish nation-statehood but also the development of the international context of Ireland.

· The general election of 1885 had an impact on parliamentary politics, as during that time, parliamentary seats were redistributed so that the Protestant majority in the north-east was represented by unionist political parties and the Catholic majority was represented by political parties who defined themselves as nationalist.

· With a unionist north and nationalist south, there were bound to be many differences between their outlines regarding the meaning of Irish identity, borders, governance, as well as Ireland on the international scale.

Nationalisms

Unionist

· Before Irish independence, unionists in Ireland argued for a separate Irish parliament that was focused on their sense of Irish identity in their importance on the United Kingdom.

· Unionists did not define their Irish identity on religion, cultural background, or political affiliation. Instead, they saw the borders of Ireland as defining the grounds for an Irish identity, as well as seeing Irish identity as a race made up of other nationalities, ‘Celt and Norman, Dane and Cromwellian’.

· The main conflict between the unionists’ Irish identity compared to constitutional and republican nationalists is with their political connection to identity. Unionists did not associate Irish identity with politics and saw membership of Ireland to be a geographical issue.

· Unionists saw no issue between the British governance and Irish bonds being fully compatible and even argued against lessening the Union between Britain and Ireland. They argued that doing so would be damaging to Ireland and would reduce Ireland’s status from being a part of the most powerful empires at that time.

· Overall, Unionists viewed Ireland as having a major role in Britain’s empire and as such did not see anything wrong with having pride in both Irish identity and loyalty to the United Kingdom.

Constitutional Nationalism

· Contrary to Irish unionists, Constitutional nationalists believed that being part of the United Kingdom did not make Irish identity stronger, but, rather, gave their identity to England. In other words, constitutionalists were somewhat anti-British.

· To be able to make informed and non influenced choices from Britain is what defined Irish constitutional nationalism at this time, roughly the 19th, 20th centuries.

· In 1900, the Irish Parliamentary Party, which was in support of the tenets of constitutional nationalism was formed. The foundations of these nationalists were based on their view of the Irish nation as a territorial unit with its own identity. In their view, Irish national identity was based on a common history and experience that came from living in Ireland.

· Unlike the Unionist view of Irish identity, constitutionalists saw Irish identity as separate from Britain because Britain seemed to be the source of much disunity and unhappiness in Irish history.

· Their national identity was based on political implications, which at the heart wished for a form of governance for Ireland that was separate from Britain. Not exactly did they wish for independent statehood, but rather just an independent political representation for Ireland.

· Mainly, the constitutionalists believed in Home Rule (giving Ireland self-representation in politics) but still did not want to sever ties with Britain, but change the status of the United Kingdom.

Republican Nationalism

· Constitutional nationalism created and accelerated a sense of ‘self-confidence’ and hope in Ireland, which Republican nationalism benefited from as constitutionalists were seemingly unable to keep their positions.

· Republican Nationalism was both a political and cultural entity in that sovereignty, or absolute authority, was in the nation itself. In other words, to them, political independence meant their own national identity, history, culture, and that the nation was free to govern itself.

· Meaning the nation itself was the most important to the republican nationalists and they emphasized the revival of cultural elements of Ireland.

· The revival of cultural nationalism that came with the republican movement led to educational and cultural movements like the Galic Athletic Association and Pearse’s Saint Enda’s School.

· The Gaelic movement was meant to save Irish Ideals and awaken memories of disdain for foreigners by increasing the sense of enthusiasm in Ireland. Though the movements were more meant to be idealistic and intellectual, because of their leaders, they ended up having much political impact that resulted in the public wanting the liberation of Ireland all the more sooner.

Convergence among Irish Nationalisms

Elites

· A prominent feature that was included in all 3 of these movements was members of the intellectual and cultural elite were in each movement. This was particularly helpful for Unionists as from the early 19th and 20th centuries came publications in support of Irish cultural nationalism, such as pamphlets, newspapers, and fictional writing.

· These uses of communicating Irish cultural nationalism in order to generate mass support for the nationalist movements. The revival of cultural elements of Irish nationality, like the Gaelic language, was part of the new vision of social order in Ireland.

Narratives

· Constitutional and republican nationalism presented to some degree a shared narrative of the Irish nation. It was based on the view that the nation and its inhabitants were unique Irish and in almost every way was different from English patriotism.

· Some of these shared narratives included representing the national spirit of Ireland in order to reestablish the historical precedence of Irish independence before influence from England. Others included showing Ireland as a nation comfortable with its own culture and willing to share that culture internationally.

Motivating Power of Cultural Identity

· Both constitutional and republic nationalism agreed that what separated the Irish nation from Britain was shown throughout history. They both viewed cultural identity as a motivation for independence and the political importance of cultural elements of nationhood was recognized by both parties.

Divergence among Irish Nationalisms

Models of Nationalism

· Republican and Constitutional national ideologies diverged in four main areas: the ideal model of the nation-state, the methods of realizing that model, the importance of the international context for those models and methods, and the response to the European crisis. In the middle of these differences was how they viewed the functions of a state in relation to a nation.

· Republican nationalists had a more static interpretation of culture in their complete political, economic, moral, and intellectual independence of Ireland. Their movement was inspired by the American and French forms of revolution.

· Constitutionalists had a more flexible conception of the nation and could see a developing unique culture within political structures that were not free from British influence.

Methods of Nationalism

· Both Republican and Constitutional movements sought to raise awareness of a distinct Irish identity, but they had different viewpoints of that identity in their end goals.

· Constitutional Nationalists viewed their model as one where the structures of government would represent the needs of those being governed, whereas, republican nationalists found that the structures of government should be determined by the nation. Their models were also shown through the activity of their movements.

· Republicans nationalists focused on complete authority over their statehood by increasing the individuality of the Irish culture and public consciousness of the nationhood.

· Constitutionalists, on the other hand, concentrated on political activity that ‘proved’ the competence and trustworthiness of Irish politics and officials for governance.

Conceptualization of International Context

· Republican nationalism, in Ireland, found that the nation itself should be focused on forging a unique self-identity in the course of civilization or that instead of looking internationally for influence they should only focus internally.

· Constitutional nationalism, on the other hand, connected the path of nationhood to the wider interests of an international community and saw this as the progress of civilization.

Response to the European Crisis

· By the end of the 19th century, cults of youth and violence, and general disillusionment were spreading throughout Europe. Events that occurred in Europe, in the following decades, had a significant impact of change on British-Irish relations.

· As various parts of the political elite and intellectuals in Ireland formed their responses to the crisis, the issue of Ireland’s relationship with Britain following independence became the more prominent question.

· The First World War, which took place during the crisis, was the major factor in the question of Ireland’s relations with Britain. Ireland’s role was seen in different ways by the different parties. The Unionists saw it as a way to postpone Home Rule and the Nationalists saw it as a way to hasten it.

· Without a doubt, the involvement of Irish soldiers in the British forces strongly influenced the vision of Ireland’s place in modern Europe. The war had mad Ireland come out from being just an island behind England,, but rather being recognized politically and geographically with European states.

· Ireland’s Declaration of Independence that arose from the war represented an attempt by Irish nationalists to justify their cause both in Ireland and internationally in Europe. This declaration was supported by Germany who took it as an attempt to take advantage of the weakened Britain.

Unsteady origins of Irish independence

Irish Vulnerability in Post-War Europe

· Germany actually failed to support the rising in Irsh after the World War 1 and this caused the failure of seeing Ireland in the international state. Ireland was rejected a position at the post-war peace conference and could only have their case heard with approval from all of the Great Powers.

· With the First World War came the beginning of the end of the empirical system in Europe and the flourishing of national self determination as a right of political organisation. In Ireland this rooted out those parties who supported the British imperial framework in Ireland.

· The reconceptualised Europe in 1919 saw the compatibility of imperialism and nationalism as unobtainable meaning Ireland’s War of Independence lent itself to the success of republicanism and the failing of nationalist parties that saw national self-determination in the British imperial framework.

Nationalism’s Dissipating Centre Ground

· There was an increased polarization between the Unionist, constitutional and republican nationalisms within Ireland as stability and order declined in Europe.

· As a result, there came many new forms of these nationalisms, such as the unsuccessful Irish Centre party that held principles like Irish self-government within the Britain empire.

· In January of 1919, the increase of confidence and determination among republican nationalists led to the establishment of the first Dali Eireann, or the attempt to set up their own government and their own Constitution that primarily was meant to replace the British administration.

· All these different nationalisms, however, still argued over the ideal ‘nation’ and these tensions were revealed in the Civil War that occured after the Angle-Itish Treaty, 1921.

· The Treaty was negotiated with the British government and effectively, Ireland was given dominion status or that they were semi-independent under Britain. However, the treaty was rejected by nationalists who believed that Ireland should accept nothing less than the status of a republic.

Unionist/nationalist and North/South Polarisation

· The inclusion of partition, or division, in the Treaty added to the difficulty of the Provisional Government’s task of presenting the new state as the legitimate representation of the Irish nation. The terms of a partition in 1919, stimulated riots in the north because the acceptance of partition rejected any form of Home Rule in Ireland. These riots were portrayed as anti-Catholic riots before the legal staal stablishment of partion meaning there was unionst-natinalist division before the partition.

· The Civil War of 1922-1923 helped the division of Ireland through the increased isolationism in the South and a growing nationalist minority in the North. The North rejected the idea of a much too independent Irish State that the South wished for. As such the North used its powers to reject the extension of the free state to Northern Ireland.

· The War of Independence, the Government of Ireland ACt, the Civil War and the establishment of the Free State all helped to the increased division between the nationalists and unionists being defined in both territorial and political terms.

Official Nationalism: Co-ordination, Mobilisation, Legitimisation

· In 1922, the Constitution of the Irish Free State Act went into effect and had been based on concepts found in Europe that added credibility to the free State. Essentially, the Constitution was an attempt to merge British constitutional theory and with republican ideas of sovereignty. However, the Constitution was still not enough to convince unionists in the North, or republicans in the South that the Free State was plausible.

· The Free State faced a crisis of legitimacy and as such the official nationalism that emerged was not party-specific but focused on unifying the nation behind the state.

· There was a change in public opinions in political terms in which the parliamentary elite could portray themselves as the true inheritors of the nationalist cause.

· By 1923, there was an increase of disaffection with the notions of national identity. (Interest in the Irish language was decreasing, nobody spoke or learned it.)

Conclusion

· The main issue that Ireland had faced from the wake of World War 1 was the absence of political unity, which came from the diversity of nationalist identities since before 1914.

· The situation in Ireland worsened, before it got better because the different forms of nationalities all fought for the right and power to define the new nation-State in their own image.

· After the state was established, however, nationalism was still a crucial aspect in the stabilisation and consolidation of the state.

· The nationalist ideals went beyond independence and it grew to justify the goals of the political movement to the general population, to the British State and ot foreign states.