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Ulster Crisis, 1912-1914 by Chris Irvine

The Ulster Crisis of 1912-14, described by A. T. Q. Stewart as ‘the most bitter political crisis experienced in Britain since the days of the Long Parliament’[1], had several long and short-term causes. In the long-term, unionists had opposed the introduction of Home Rule for Ireland since the first campaign in 1886 and unionism had become increasingly focused in Ulster after the formation of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) in 1905. The immediate causes of the crisis were the removal of the House of Lords veto in 1911 and the introduction of the Third Home Rule bill in the House of Commons in 1912. The removal of the House of Lords veto meant that Home Rule could no longer be held up indefinitely by the Lords and could now be implemented by a simple majority in the House of Commons. With the removal of the last constitutional impediment to Home Rule for Ireland, the Ulster Unionists turned to more radical means of maintaining Ulster’s position in the United Kingdom.

[1] A. T. Q. Stewart, The Ulster crisis (London, 1969), p. 18.

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This entry was written by Chris Irvine. Chris is a third-year student in the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s University Belfast and is currently studying for a Single Honours BA degree in Modern History. His research interests include Modern Irish and European history.

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