To what extent was the home rule crisis of 1912 to 1914 caused by Ulster Unionism? (25 Marks)
The Irish Home Rule Crisis from 1912 to 1914 was caused when Asquith's Liberal government introduced the third home rule bill which provided for an Irish Parliament run from Dublin-Both Nationalists and Unionists along with the Liberals and Conservatives bear some blame for the crisis. The home rule crisis can be seen as being caused mainly by the Ulster Unionists, the Irish Nationalists, the Liberal party and the Unionist party. In this essay I will be evaluating which key actions each of these groups had done which added towards the chaos of the crisis, and hence which one of these groups had a larger impact of the events which led to the outcome of a crisis.
The Irish Nationalists, a party which had 84 MP's in the house of commons, consisted mainly of Catholics who wanted Home Rule as they believed Ireland should be independent and ran by its own government situated in the prominently Catholic Dublin. Redmond was the leaders of the nationalists and he used their advantage in the HOC's to make home rule a priority. As it remained blocked by the Lords, Nationalists took greater action; creating the IRB and the Irish Volunteer Force both acted to help gain larger support. Although Redmond was against violence, it was to an extent which many of the Irish volunteers were willing to go through. A military build-up was in action which took place after a rifle smuggling in Howarth, in retaliation to the Unionists also doing so. This was picked up by the Liberal government who took measures against the Nationalists. The growing popularity of 'Ourselves Alone' represented the gradual change to a more extreme nationalism, calling for separation this played an active role in the Irish Volunteer (who were 200,000 strong and in 1913 were incorporated into the Nationalist equivalent of the UVF, the Irish Republic Brotherhood). The Nationalists too smuggled guns into the country (At Howarth 1914) however there were only 1,500 in number and this was ultimately a reaction to the UVF becoming armed.
The Ulster Unionists were led by Edward Carson, a Unionist MP. The Unionists consisted predominantly of minority Irish Protestants who feared home rule would lead to government dominated by Catholicism. They saw themselves as British and not Irish unlike the Nationalists. The Unionists planned a separate government for Ulster and became hostile protesters in large demonstrations. An Ulster volunteer force was also established and unionist smuggled in weapons- clearly advocating mass violence. This also involved a military build-up. The protesting of the Unionists led to a dedicated day to the Unionists 'Ulster Day' in September and a covenant was signed to show the amount of support. Up to 200,000 members signed, many signed with their own blood. Also, the Unionists were very reluctant to come to agreement with the Liberals idea of...