Protestant Challenges to the 'Protestant State': Ulster Unionism and Independent Unionism in Northern Ireland, 1921-1939

Colin Reid

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Abstract

This article considers intra-unionist divisions in inter-war Northern Ireland, with an emphasis on the antagonistic relationship between the governing Ulster Unionist Party and a number of independent unionists. The article is divided into four sections. The first section briefly outlines the nature of independent unionism in pre-partition Ireland. The second section considers the politics of the inter-war Ulster Unionist Party, with an emphasis on its programme to create and maintain unionist unity. This provides the context for the third section, which examines the political contribution of a small band of independent unionists who stood outside this unity. The final section conducts an analysis of the electoral politics in inter-war Northern Ireland. This reveals that the most heated political cleavage in inter-war Northern Ireland was not the traditional unionist–nationalist battle line; it was instead the intra-unionist divide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-445
JournalTwentieth Century British History
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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