John Hume : origins of a Derry icon 1960-74
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John Hume held executive office for just five months out of a political career lasting more than 30 years. Yet he became one of the most influential politicians of the past 50 years and was instrumental in changing the course of politics not just in Northern Ireland, but also Dublin, London and Washington. This thesis examines Hume’s political origins from his earliest appearances in public life in the 1960s and how he rejected much of the received political ideology which endured for 40 years after the Partition of Ireland. It explores how Hume synthesised and entwined various strands of fresh thought and formed a distinctive approach which he made his own. It explains his rise from relative obscurity using a thematic approach. A chapter explores the “hidden history” of Hume’s Derry and its formative effect on him. Another chapter details Hume’s efforts to supplant the Nationalist Party and, along with five others, to create a new political force to further his distinctive approach to the Irish question. The third chapter examines in detail Hume’s efforts to reformulate the Northern Ireland policy of the Irish government and a fourth details his efforts to harness the power of the US. Hume’s troubled and arguably counter-productive relations with unionists in Northern Ireland are explored in chapter five and an explanation is offered as to why Hume failed to convince so many unionists of his case. It plots the changes in Hume’s approach which occurred in response to the eruption of the Troubles. The final chapter examines Hume’s relations with the British government and cites his insistence that London, as a sovereign power, involve itself fully in the search for a settlement. Throughout, constant reference is made to Hume’s Derry origins and the centrality of the city’s history and politics in his political make up.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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