British Democracy and Irish Nationalism 1876-1906

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September 2007



A major new study of the impact of Home Rule on liberalism and popular radicalism in Britain and Ireland. Eugenio Biagini argues that between 1876 and 1906 the crisis of public conscience caused by the Home Rule debate acted as the main catalyst in the remaking of popular radicalism. This was not only because of Ireland's intrinsic importance but also because the 'Irish cause' came to be identified with democracy, constitutional freedoms and humanitarianism. The related politics of emotionalism did not aid in finding a solution to either the Home Rule or the Ulster problem but it did create a popular culture of human rights based on the conviction that, ultimately, politics should be guided by non-negotiable moral imperatives. Adopting a comparative perspective, this book explores the common ground between Irish and British democracy and makes a significant contribution to the history of human rights, imperialism and Victorian political culture.


1. Home Rule as a ‘crisis of public conscience’; 2. ‘That great cause of justice’: Home Rule in the context of domestic Liberal and radical politics; 3. Constitutional Nationalism and ‘popular liberalism’ in Ireland; 4. ‘Giving stability to popular opinion’? Radicalism and caucus in Britain and Ireland; 5. Joseph and his brethren: the rise and fall of Radical Unionism; 6. Social radicalism and the revival of the ‘popular front’; 7. Democracy and the politics of humanitarianism.


Eugenio F. Biagini is a Reader in Modern British and European History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge. His latest publications include Gladstone (2000) and, with Derek Beales, The Risorgimento and the Unification of Italy (2002).


Review of the hardback: 'Biagini's book is a detailed and fertile analysis of social and political reform in the United Kingdom on the eve of crisis. It sets the scene for the ensuing struggle between democracy and Imperialism as it came to dominate relations between Britain and Ireland down to the end of the 20th century.' Times Literary Supplement Review of the hardback: 'Dr Biagini is greatly to be congratulated on having produced a highly readable volume that offers new and original perspectives on the relationship between Liberalism and Irish nationalism. This book will surely be essential reading for all students of the period.' Journal of Liberal History Review of the hardback: '... an important book advancing an important argument.' Parliamentary History Review of the hardback: 'This new work is a study of British Radicalism and Irish nationalism between 1876 and 1906. Biagini's works combine use of an impressive range of source material, generally not known to other historians of the period, and a sophisticated analysis. Most studies of Irish nationalism either analyse Irish politics as the subject of the politics of British parliamentarians or focus on the Irish nationalist resistance to British oppression. This work is unusual in treating Irish party politics and British liberal politics as parallel contemporary developments.' Chartist Review of the hardback: '[This book] achieves the signal feat of making an original contribution to two of the most crowded fields in modern British history: late Victorian politics and the impact of the Irish problem on British life. ... Dr Biagini has provided us with another important study of late nineteenth-century liberalism which will occasion debate and challenge in this rich area of historiography. ... no scholar of this period can afford to ignore the contributions made by this work.' British Scholar 'Biagini's book addresses this sort of synergy - its history, pathways, and results - in what is one of the most important and integrated studies of British and Irish politics, and an important companion volume to his own Retrenchment and Reform, which looks at the earlier period.' Labour History Review
EAN: 9780521841764
ISBN: 0521841763
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: September 2007
Seitenanzahl: 421 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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