- origins of unionism, the Parliament Act 1911
Feeling tremendous pressure to grant Ireland Home Rule,
Britain began to talk about making efforts to "pacify" Ireland,
implying that it would indeed grant their wish. Talks of Home Rule were then delayed.
The Irish saw the delay as a further political tactic of a British parliament
who had no intention of granting them autonomy
Home Rule Bill, Ulster Solemn League
Ireland was to have a Home Rule
parliament with very limited powers.
To preserve link with Britain,
Ireland would continue to elect 40 mps to the imperial parliament at
Westminster. Ireland was still under the british monarch and part of the
empire. British army and Navy would remain in Ireland.
Unionists were loyal to the british monarch and were content
to remain fullywithin the uk under a single parliament. Noth-east Ulster had
prospered under the act of union 1800. Unionists feared that a home rule
parliament in Dublin would destroy this. Their slogan “home rule is rome rule”
summed up their fears of being dominated by a catholic church-controlled
parliament in Dublin.
solemn league and covenant
On 28th September , 1912 they created what was
called the `Solemn League and Covenant' which bound their followers to use any
means necessary to resist Home Rule. They gathered over a half a million
signatures, some of the Unionists even signing in their own blood. In the
covenent they refused tobelieve that the bill was not being passed by a
democratic majority. Instead they regarded it as an illegal conspiracy against
their protestant way of life.
War I - home rule postponed
When the war broke out, the british government
decided to pass the home rule bill but to suspend it’s coming into effect until
the end of the hostilities. This partly pleased both unionists and
nationalists. The passing of the billin 1914 wasa victory of sorts. They
expected war to be over soon, and after 50 years of struggle, HR finaly came
into operation. For Carson and Craig, the war was an opportunity to show their
loyalty to the king. Volunteers even joining british army, and so strengthening
Rising - Rise of Sinn Fein
April 24 1916, hostilities come
to a boiling point. Irish volunteers and members of citizen army. Onlookers did
not suspect anything unusual would happen,as marches etc were the norm in
Dublin. A number of buildings were strategicly taken, including the gpo on
o’connel street. At noon the tri-colour was raised, and Patrick pearse read the
proclaimation of the irish republic.
British soon rushed in
reinforcements from athlone, the curragh camp and Britain. General Sir John
Maxwell was sent to take control with full powers to pull down the rebellion.
Gradually british forces encircled the city centrem and moved on the rebel
After what seemed like an age of turmoil, the above caused
the the government of Ireland act to be passed through British Parliament in
1920. It’s most important provision being partion, a thing which the uniosts
welcomed, but the marooned nationalists hated.