Two Irelands beyond the Sea: Ulster Unionism and America, 1880-1920 uncovers the transnational movement by Ireland’s unionists as they worked to maintain the Union with Great Britain during the Home Rule era of Irish history. Overshadowed by Irish-American nationalist relations in this era, this transnational movement attempted to bridge the Atlantic to gain support for unionism from the United States. During the Home Rule era, unionists were anxious about Irish-American extremism, apprehensive of American involvement in the Irish question, and eager sought support for their own movement. Two Irelands beyond the Sea explores the political, social, religious, and ethnic connections between Irish unionists and the United States as unionists appealed to Americans for backing and reacted to Irish nationalism. The role of the United States in unionist political thought is also investigated, as unionists used American history, political systems, and Scotch-Irish ethnic traditions to bring legitimacy to their own movement. This examination drives the historical study of Irish unionism into a new arena, illustrating that Irish unionists were much more internationally-focused than traditionally portrayed. Two Irelands beyond the Sea challenges our understanding of Irish unionism by revealing the many ways in which unionists reached out to the United States, sought international support, and constructed their own image of America to legitimize the unionist movement.
Reviews'An original, well-researched analysis of the key elements in the relationship between Irish unionists and the US from the 1880s to partition. This book will not only be a major contribution to the historiography of unionism, but also to the literature on Irish America.'
Professor Andrew Wilson, Loyola University Chicago