I will explain how Carson, Craig and the Ulster Unionists were opposed to the Home Rule bill, and how they felt they were justified in using armed force if necessary, to get what they believe was their right to a British government for Ireland.
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Why did Carson, Craig and their 'Loyalist Unionist supporters' Feel justified in using violence and the threat of violence against 'Their Kings government' between 1912 and 1914 in order to prevent Home Rule for Ireland? Throughout this essay I will explain how Carson, Craig and the Ulster Unionists were opposed to the Home Rule bill, and how they felt they were justified in using armed force if necessary, to get what they believe was their right to a British government for Ireland. I will also detail some background on each Carson and Craig. Edward Carson was described as the founding father of Northern Ireland, he was a protestant Dubliner and became the acknowledged leader of the Ulster Unionists due to his efforts to keep the six northern counties under British rule. Carson dedicated his political life to opposing the Irish Home Rule and was prepared to use immeasurable force, if necessary, to prevent the Home Rule bill being passed. James Craig was born in Belfast and had a very strict Presbyterian upbringing, which led him to totally distrust any Northern Irish Catholics. Like Carson he also dedicated his life to upholding the Union of the north. In 1910 he became the leader of the Ulster Unionists, but was more widely known for his other interests and leadership was not his main agenda so he ceded the leadership to Edward Carson.
A decision which in due course was to transform Irish politics, Again this was found justifiable as the Monster meetings were paying little effect on the British ministers and this was to add additional pressure on the British government, using possible force to resist an all Ireland government. By 1914, 90,000 volunteers had enlisted and although their were well trained, they were inadequately armed, which brought about the Larne gun running in where the Unionist leaders purchased in total 25,000 rifles and 3 million rounds of ammunition. This again was able to exert more pressure on the Liberal government. The 'Extra Parliamentary' opposition to the Home Rule was justified by the Loyalist/Unionist camps on the basis of the 'Social Contract Theory' which had two basic rules, We must not harm one another and we must be able to rely on each other. They also felt that the 'Act of Unionism' meant that they were entitled to an implicit guarantee that the West Minister Parliament and their Monarch would protect 'their civil and religious liberties' of Loyalist in Ireland. One of the main barriers to previous Home Rules was that of the House of Lords, but in 1911 the 'Parliament Act' effectively reduced their power to delay as opposed to outright rejection. The leader of the I.P.P.
So the Home Rule bill was deferred until the war was over, this then was to lead to the Easter Rising of 1916. Craig applied for the enlisted for the army to fight for the British, he was not accepted due to medical reasons, although he did work for several government posts in the duration of the war. Carson was later to become a Law Lord, he did state very bitterly, "What a fool I was! I was only a puppet and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative party into power.......these terms were not passed on their merits. Not at all. They were passed with a revolver to your heads. And you know it...I ask your Lordships, ought Unionists leaders to have been a party to that-Unionists leaders who have undertaking to defend the Unionist policy? Of all the men in my experience that I think the most loathsome it is those who will sell their friends for the purpose of conciliating their enemies. Ulster could not have been saved for the British crown, if it weren't for the determination of the Unionist and Carson's inspiring leadership. Ultimately it was the threat of the armed defiance from the Ulster Unionist. Carson's perennial question is still repeated, "Will liberal-minded governments ever learn that submission to lawlessness, so far from appeasing, only whets the appetite in Ireland. 1389 Words. Liz Dalzell
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