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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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“Because we are white men”

“Because we are white men”

Erskine Childers, Jan Christian Smuts, and the Irish Quest for Self-Government, 1899–1922

(p.148) Chapter Six “Because we are white men”
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 Erskine Childers who participated in the South African War as a volunteer member of an artillery company that augmented the regular British military forces. The son of an English father and an Irish mother, he entered the war as a British patriot but in its aftermath became a pro-Boer and, soon thereafter, an Irish nationalist. He had much in common with the white South African Jan Christian Smuts, who was also a participant in the war as a political and military leader of the Boer republics. Both men were deeply concerned with the place of the white settler colonies, or dominions, in the emerging British Empire–Commonwealth, but ultimately they went in markedly different directions.

Keywords:   Irish nationalism, British Empire, Erskine Childers, Jan Christian Smuts, Irish nationalists, Boer

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