Source B is an extract from John Redmond, the Irish National Party leader of the time, in 1907 addressing his demand for a democratic, independent government in Ireland. Source C is from James Connolly of the Workers’ Republic on the issue of sovereignty in February 1916 and also has a very pro Home Rule and democratic belief. Both sources show they are evidently for the concept of Home Rule in Ireland, and are both from political members trying to improve Ireland. John Redmond was the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1907 and was renowned for his drive and determination to get home rule for Ireland.
His political party recognised that the obstacles he faced in order to push this policy through came from the Conservative party, Unionist party and the House of Lords. By this time, two Home Rule bills had already been passed in the House of Commons but went onto be rejected by the House of Lords. However, the Liberal party obtained a great victory in 1906, and consequently the Home Rule policy had more chance to be approved as Gladstone was a strong supporter of the idea. The purpose of Redmond’s speech was to inform his supporters of the party’s plans to tackle the 1800 Act of Union and gain Home Rule.
He saw the Act of Union as having “no binding moral or legal force” which shows his idea that the act was illegitimate and just an excuse for violence from the Britons. James Connolly, meanwhile, was a trade union radical talking via the Workers’ Republic newspaper – renowned for their left wing support. He supported independence and spoke of the importance of sovereignty, the complete support and control of the country. His speech seemingly addresses a wider audience to Redmond’s rather than merely his own supporters, and has a very authoritative and demanding tone.
He is speaking in 1916, at a time whereby a third Home Rule bill was proposed and consequently passed – but to no avail due to the Great War. The speech comes from Easter 1916, the time of the ‘Easter Rising’, that saw a division between the support of the public in Ireland. A majority of Home Rule supporters were part of Redmond’s idea of fighting against the German’s to help the British in order for the policy to become reality after the war; whilst a minority saw this as a betrayal to Ireland’s claim to nationhood and became part of Connolly’s ‘Citizen Army’.
This division in opinion led Connolly to make the speech, in order to convey his opinion towards the matter of Irish independence and to consequently gain supporters for his Citizen Army. Up until this time, he had orientated his work around socialism and improving the working class rights, and – although being for the Irish population – his work was not linked to an Ireland free from British rule.
He was appointed acting General Secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in 1915 and became notably more militant with his ideas and actions. Both Sources are very similar in terms of tone and make their demands very clear to the public, and they both clearly wanted what they thought was best for the country. However, they are both from different sides of the political spectrum and therefore saw different ways of getting to the overall goal of a greater Ireland.
Redmond’s use of complex lexis immediately strikes the audience into the idea of a sophisticated and civil route to gain Home Rule: “We declare that… no number of Land Acts… no redress of financial grievances, no material improvement or industrial development, can ever satisfy Ireland…”; Connolly however uses simplistic and high frequency words and uses informal methods: “To both questions the answer is: no, most emphatically, NO! ” The main difference between the two methods is that Connolly has a very demanding and chant-like tone to his text, whilst Redmond has a peaceful and respectful one.
This may denote the difference in time period, as the 1907 Redmond speech was at a time that the nation were far more pessimistic and believed they would obtain Home Rule, whilst the 1916 Connolly rant was a month before the ‘Easter Rising’. Source C shows that James Connolly wanted more than just Home Rule, and felt they needed to push for more than this to become a free nation; Source B however shows that Redmond was perfectly happy to settle with just Home Rule, and that he believed this would be enough to please the public.
It is very obvious that Redmond wanted to take a peaceful approach and would settle for Home Rule alone, whilst Connolly was far more militant with his attitude and demanded more than this policy alone. This change in view could be due to the difference in period as Connolly had a small minority of supporters and needed to take a right-wing approach in order to gain support, whilst Redmond believed the Irish National Party would be swept away by Sinn Fein (ourselves alone).
John Redmond was the real driving force for the Home Rule idea since the start of the 20th century; he was an MP for the Home Rule Party and had a good relationship with the Liberals and Gladstone himself. He shared a similar approach to the Liberals in his political style and steered well clear of violent and inpatient approaches, rather opting for voting systems and doing things politically and democratically. James Connolly, however, had a hugely different approach and formed the Irish Citizens Army in the 1913 ‘Great Lock-out’.
This difference in tactic between the two showed how different their opinions towards Home Rule were and how they believed Ireland should be. Redmond believed Home Rule was enough to make the public happy, but Connolly was far more ambitious and demanding than this, and wanted overall independence and sovereignty; he felt to gain this, they must use right-wing, violent methods and therefore used his own newspaper, army and socialist groups to do so. The quote from Source C: “Will the Home Rule bill give such control? No”, sums up Connolly’s viewpoint very simply, and shows just how determined he was.
It is very clear that these two sources prove both political members had hugely separate ideas and visions for Ireland. The difference in date is vital in assembling this, as Redmond’s speech was at a stage where the country were very optimistic about getting the policy whereas Connolly’s extract is only a few months prior to his main push to gain the respect of the Britain’s via the Easter Rising. John Redmond evidently felt Home Rule was the right way to go for the country and did not want independence from Britain, and also felt that his party’s relationship with the Liberals was vital in gaining Home Rule.
James Connolly felt a free nation would not be as a result of Home Rule, and founded numerous parties and socialist groups – as well as a left-wing newspaper and citizen army – and regularly conveyed the message that action needed to be taken immediately. However, at this time Connolly only had a small majority of support compared to Redmond which proved that he had a far smaller following and that the public believed his right wing approaches were not for the best, and perhaps shows that Home Rule was favoured by a majority of the nation’s public.