John Redmond and Irish nationalism, 1890-1910

Alan D Lane, Marquette University

Abstract

This dissertation examines John Redmond's career from 1890 through 1910, placing the Irish Parliamentary Party within the multi-sided context of Irish nationalism. Incorporating primary evidence and historical studies, the work considers Redmond's leadership of the party's Parnellite wing, the party's reunion and its leaders' characters and views. It analyzes party activities with attention to its relationships with the Catholic Church, Gaelic League, advocates of cooperatives and industrialization, labor, tenant farmers, and Sinn Fein. It also examines links with British parties to establish the environment within which Redmond worked. The study found that previous interpretations required adjustment. Among significant changes, the years 1906-1910 were a successful period for the Irish. While the government did not grant Home Rule, it passed a University Act and other important legislation for Ireland. The 1909 Land Act demonstrated Redmond's increased focus on Irish congests' problems. Redmond also adopted a successful if unpopular policy toward the 1909 Budget. During the 1910 House of Lords crisis, he allied with radical Liberals and Labourites to pressure the government into continuing reform. The Irish Parliamentary Party was not authoritarian. Redmond believed that it should serve all Irish nationalists but felt it need not lead their activities outside of Parliament. This inclusive nationalism meant that the party could not commit itself to any one group's ideas. Many nationalists misinterpreted Redmond's aloofness and laissez faire leadership as unconcern about their interests. The party did not try hard to attract Irishmen, but Redmond also rarely attempted to silence critics except by appeals for unity. Members of other groups bear equal responsibility for poor relations. Diverging interests among Irishmen led to contradictory demands that meant nationalist unity became wishful thinking. These differences became a problem because some Irishmen dogmatically demanded conformity. They rejected Redmond's inclusive policy as insufficient support. Despite the dogmatists, most nationalists, including the younger generation, supported Redmond. Criticism primarily caused unenthusiasm. Without opposing the party, many Irishmen joined alternatives like the Gaelic League. Sinn Fein's later importance must not be extended backwards. Before 1914 William O'Brien and Tim Healy led a more important opposition.

Recommended Citation

Alan D Lane, "John Redmond and Irish nationalism, 1890-1910" (January 1, 1989). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9014054.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9014054

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