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

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

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by David Sim
 

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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

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"With this book, David Sim extends that growing understanding of the importance of Ireland and its American diaspora into the period from the 1840s to the 1890s. One intriguing aspect of the book is that Sim admits from the start that the Irish-American effort to enlist the United States in an attempt to free Ireland failed. The book is an important contribution to a number of fields. By exploring the role of nonstate actors and public opinion on American foreign relations, A Union Forever adds to the growing exploration of that topic. In its treatment of Irish American nationalism's interest in harnessing American policy, the book expands our understanding of the history of Irish America. Because Sim covers all of this in light of the evolving Anglo-American relationship during the eighteenth century, he provides a better lens through which to explain how the later 'special relationship' evolved. It is an important read for historians of Ireland, Irish America, and American foreign relations."—John Day Tully,American Historical Review

"Sim demonstrates a fine eye for nuance in a well-researched and clearly written study that contributes significantly to works on Irish American nationalism, transnational political history, and the history of U.S. foreign policy."—William Jenkins, Journal of American History (September 2015)

"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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801451843
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
12/03/2013
Series:
The United States in the World
Pages:
266
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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A Union Forever: The Irish Question and U.S. Foreign Relations in the Victorian Age 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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