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Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race$
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Bruce Nelson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153124

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153124.001.0001

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“From the Cabins of Connemara to the Kraals of Kaffirland”

“From the Cabins of Connemara to the Kraals of Kaffirland”

Irish Nationalists, the British Empire, and the “Boer Fight for Freedom”

(p.121) Chapter Five “From the Cabins of Connemara to the Kraals of Kaffirland”
Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race

Bruce Nelson

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Irish nationalism in the context of the British Empire and its rapid expansion in the second half of the nineteenth century. It focuses on Michael Davitt, who participated in the South African War. Davitt became a bitter opponent of British foreign policy and a war correspondent for American and Irish newspapers. He had long been committed to an essentialist discourse of Anglo-Saxon versus Celt that required the demonization of the Saxon for his manifold sins. While Davitt became famous for his opposition to anti-Semitism and support for the aboriginal peoples of Australia and New Zealand, we must also recognize that in romanticizing the Boers as heroic victims of British imperialism he allowed himself to demonize their black African adversaries in ways that not only distorted historical reality but also reflected the intense racism of his time.

Keywords:   Irish nationalism, British Empire, Michael Davitt, anti-Semitism, Boers, British foreign policy, war correspondent

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