‘The true remedy for Irish grievances is to be found in good political institutions’: English radicals and Irish nationalism, 1847–74


  • The author would like to thank Adam Chill, Thomas William Heyck and Peter Weiler for reading earlier drafts and offering their comments. In addition, the editors and anonymous referees for Historical Research provided a number of helpful suggestions for which the author is grateful.


This article examines how English radicals reacted to the challenge of Irish nationalism in the mid nineteenth century. The Young Ireland, Fenian and Home Rule movements brought forth responses from across the spectrum of English radicalism, but scholars have neglected this topic, even as they have emphasized the importance of continental nationalisms for understanding English radicalism. This article, drawing on the radical press and manuscript sources, argues that a belief in the exceptional nature of the United Kingdom constitution, together with the growing importance of the imperial interest, convinced English radicals to reject Irish nationalism.