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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

4 - Militants, 1912–1916


This chapter focusses on the efforts of Protestant advanced nationalists to bring about political change using extra-parliamentary methods. It demonstrates how Protestants who emerged from cultural activism remained within recognisable circles defined by religion. The first section describes the creation of the Irish Volunteers as a nationalist counterpoint to the Ulster Volunteers, and how this body came to be armed by a committee primarily composed of Protestants. The over-optimistic hopes of figures such as Roger Casement that the Irish Volunteers and the unionist Ulster Volunteers could be brought together on a common anti-British government platform is examined. The second section discusses labour and the Irish Citizen Army, whose leadership, at least initially, included several Protestants. The extent to which socialist leaders sought to fashion a nationalism that would appeal to working-class Protestants is discussed. Ultimately, this chapter argues that the strong link between Catholicism and advanced nationalism dated not from the 1916 Rising but from the formation of the Irish Volunteers in the years before.

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