The survival of the Irish union, 1800–1921

Alvin Jackson

in The Two Unions

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593996
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731419 | DOI:
The survival of the Irish union, 1800–1921

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This chapter examines the longevity of the union state in Ireland. It emphasizes the malleability of the union, as well as some of the cultural means by which Britishness was insinuated into 19th-century Ireland. One further, critical, aspect of the argument has been that some of the factors, agencies, and institutions which sustained the union in contemporary Scotland operated, albeit in a much weakened manner, in Ireland. These distinctions were grounded partly in the fact that, while Scotland and Ireland shared an experience of union, this joint constitutional condition masked distinctive national experiences not only of England but also of the British Empire. The longevity of the Irish union can also be explained in terms of military and police action. Ireland was permanently garrisoned by British soldiers, and by the armed policemen of the Irish or (after 1867) ‘Royal Irish’ Constabulary. Ireland was ultimately bound to the union, not only by complex social, cultural, and economic ties, but also by the threat, and sometimes the reality, of force.

Keywords: Ireland; union state; Britishness; military action; police action

Chapter.  14299 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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