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Thomas Wallace Russell

(1841—1920) politician


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(1841–1920), radical Unionist politician. Russell entered politics through the temperance movement, which provided a training in oratory and—through his work as a lobbyist—access to parliament. He became Liberal Unionist MP for South Tyrone in 1886. In 1894–5 he launched a popular campaign designed to put pressure on the Conservative and Unionist leadership to deliver land reform. In 1895 he was temporarily silenced through junior ministerial office; but in September 1900 he declared in favour of compulsory land purchase, and was dismissed. Thereafter he drifted towards an independent stand, organizing a distinctive agitation and electoral campaign between 1900 and 1906: his candidates won by-elections in East Down (Feb. 1902) and in North Fermanagh (Mar. 1903), formerly Unionist-held constituencies. This challenge was an influence behind both the Land Act of 1903 and the local reorganization of Ulster Unionism (see ulster unionist council) after 1904. Russell accepted junior office from the Liberal government in 1907. He retained his South Tyrone seat until January 1910, and held North Tyrone for the Liberals between 1911 and 1918.

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From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.


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