A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age

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Overview

In the mid-nineteenth century the Irish question—the governance of the island of Ireland—demanded attention on both sides of the Atlantic. In A Union Forever, David Sim examines how Irish nationalists and their American sympathizers attempted to convince legislators and statesmen to use the burgeoning global influence of the United States to achieve Irish independence. Simultaneously, he tracks how American politicians used the Irish question as means of furthering their own ...

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A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age

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Overview

In the mid-nineteenth century the Irish question—the governance of the island of Ireland—demanded attention on both sides of the Atlantic. In A Union Forever, David Sim examines how Irish nationalists and their American sympathizers attempted to convince legislators and statesmen to use the burgeoning global influence of the United States to achieve Irish independence. Simultaneously, he tracks how American politicians used the Irish question as means of furthering their own diplomatic and political ends.

Combining an innovative transnational methodology with attention to the complexities of American statecraft, Sim rewrites the diplomatic history of this neglected topic. He considers the impact that nonstate actors had on formal affairs between the United States and Britain, finding that not only did Irish nationalists fail to involve the United States in their cause but actually fostered an Anglo-American rapprochement in the final third of the nineteenth century. Their failures led them to seek out new means of promoting Irish self-determination, including an altogether more radical, revolutionary strategy that would alter the course of Irish and British history over the next century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In A Union Forever, David Sim brilliantly illuminates the role of Irish nationals and nationalism in Anglo-American relations during the nineteenth century. Sim has crafted a convincing narrative about this central issue in the history of American foreign relations and the wider Atlantic world."—Jason Opal, McGill University, author of Beyond the Farm: National Ambitions in Rural New England

"A Union Forever is a perceptive and persuasive analysis of the ways in which Irish American nationalists attempted to exploit Anglo-American tensions to advance the cause of Irish independence even as American statesmen attempted to fit 'the Irish Question' into their own domestic and diplomatic goals. David Sim effectively brings out the central irony of Irish American nationalist activities: A campaign that was intended to create the space for Irish independence by driving Britan and the United States further apart actually resulted in closer Anglo-American cooperation on the key issues of citizenship, neutrality, and extradition."—David A. Wilson, University of Toronto, author of United Irishmen, United States

"Bringing the nineteenth-century histories of Ireland and the United States together, David Sim offers an indispensable account of both, one that reveals how numerous domestic and foreign policy concerns conspired to initially elevate but ultimately undermine American support for Irish nationhood. Deeply researched, analytically precise, nuanced, and clearly written, A Union Forever is transnational political history at its best!"—Brian Schoen, Ohio University, author of The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801451843
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Series: United States in the World Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Sim is Lecturer in US History at University College London.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: An Atlantic Triangle
1. Challenging the Union: American Repeal and U.S. Diplomacy
2. Ireland Is No Longer a Nation: The Irish Famine and American Diplomacy
3. Filibusters and Fenians: Contesting Neutrality
4. The Fenian Brotherhood, Naturalization, and Expatriation: Irish Americans and Anglo-American Comity
5. Toward Home Rule: From the Fenians to Parnell's Ascendancy
6. A Search for Order: The Decline of the Irish Question in American Diplomacy
Epilogue: Rapprochement, Paris, and a Free State
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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