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Ireland 1848-1972: A Political and Social History (HI283) - Essay List

Listed below are the titles that students should select from for their short essays. If a student wishes to write an essay on a different topic to those listed below, they must first gain the permission of the module tutor to do so.

  1. Had the Great Famine any lasting impact upon nineteenth-century Ireland?
  2. What was the basis of the nationalist case in Ireland (both constitutional and separatist) from the l880s to 1916?
  3. Why did the Land War break out in 1879?
  4. What role did women play in Irish Nationalist politics?
  5. What was the role of physical force in Irish politics between 1848 and 1921?
  6. How important was religious re-organisation in Ireland in the second half of the nineteenth century?
  7. At what point and why, do you consider the land question to have been solved?
  8. What was meant by 'killing home rule by kindness', and was it doomed to failure as a policy?
  9. In what ways do you think a study of the history of Irish women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries could change our understanding of the period?
  10. To what extent was religion a significant factor in Irish life in the second half of the nineteenth century?
  11. Did Parnell transform the Home Rule movement?
  12. Why was such attention given to Irish cultural matters in the late nineteenth century?
  13. Why did the third Home Rule Bill (1912) become the focus of so much passion'?
  14. Discuss the impact of the Easter Rising on the Irish political scene.
  15. Why did so many people emigrate from post-famine Ireland?
  16. Was John Redmond a nationalist?
  17. How valid a case do you think Unionists had for the retention of the Union?
  18. What controversies have arisen in writings about the Great Famine?
  19. How accurately does the phrase 'coercion and conciliation' describe British government policy in Ireland in the second half of the nineteenth century?
  20. In what sense was the Catholic Church in the late nineteenth century on the defensive?
  21. Was Parnell a nationalist?
  22. Was Irish Protestantism in the late nineteenth century cohesive?
  23. Why did the term 'unionist' gradually come to replace 'loyalist' in the late nineteenth century?
  24. What was the role of culture in creating national identity in the period 1890-1920?
  25. What were the most striking characteristics of Irish Unionism by the late nineteenth century?
  26. Did constructive Unionism really undermine the union between Ireland and Britain?
  27. How did the new nationalist organisations of the period 1900-1908 foster republican thinking?
  28. Why did Republican ideas come to have increasing influence in the period between 1913 and 1915?
  29. Was the 1916 Rising a coup or a sacrifice?
  30. What were the main identity problems facing Ulster Unionism by 1914?
  31. Were the rise of Sinn Fein and the decline of the Irish Parliamentary Party traceable to the same causes?
  32. Does the extension of the franchise under the 1918 Representation of the People Act adequately explain the triumph of Sinn Fein in the ensuing election?
  33. Did the British government and the Dublin Castle administrations mishandle the Irish nationalist crisis after 1916?
  34. What was the place of farm work and domestic industry in the life of women in rural Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century?
  35. What were the implications of the tensions that existed between nationalist, unionist and suffrage women for women's political activism in the early Twentieth century?
  36. How justified were republican objections to the Oath of Allegiance?
  37. To what extent did emigration accelerate the 'modernisation process' in post-famine Ireland?
  38. Why was there a civil war?
  39. How serious a threat were the Blueshirts to the stability of the Irish State?
  40. Why did de Valera draft the 1937 constitution?
  41. Why did emigration levels reach such levels in the 1950s?
  42. What were the problems faced by the Catholic Church in its relations with the new state after 1922?
  43. Did Irish women become politically inactive after 1922?
  44. How can we account for the weakness of the Labour party in Irish politics in the 1930s and 1940s?
  45. 'The policy of Gaelicisation was a complete failure'. Discuss in relation tot he period 1921-1957.
  46. Who posed the greater threat to irish democracy in the 1930s - the Blueshirts or the IRA?
  47. 'The mother and child controversy revealed that the Catholic Church could determine the outcome of government policy as and when it pleased.' Discuss with reference to the period 1922-1952.
  48. Why were there so few women in the Dail after 1923?
  49. 'In the fullness of time, history will come to see the greatness of Collins and it will be recorded at my expense'. To what extent has this statement, made by de Valera in 1966, been substantiated by recent historiography on Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera?
  50. What impact did television have on Irish society in the 1960s?