Irish farmers’ parties and land redistribution in the twentieth century
To the extent that land redistribution contributes to large and small farmers seeing themselves as different classes with divergent economic interests, its effects may be highly incapacitating politically, especially if it hinders farmers in constituting themselves as a single political class capable of becoming a coherent force in competitive party politics. Against this backdrop this chapter examines the question of how land redistribution was handled by three farmers’ parties intent on attracting all-farmer support in twentieth-century Ireland. How well each of these parties succeeded in holding a class balance that would simultaneously safeguard security of tenure while tolerating moderate land redistribution is assessed. The degree to which land redistribution contributed to the demise of the three farmers’ parties in question is also considered.
The politics of land reform in twentieth-century Ireland
What Irish state elites in the twentieth century were prepared to concede by way of land reform, the circumstances in which concessions were made and implemented and some of the effects that followed are considered in this chapter. The challenge throughout in this chapter is one of assessing the relative contributions of state elites, political and class forces to what was conceded, implemented and achieved by way of land reform. Popular agitations, under nationalist guidance for the most part, are shown to have been of importance to the timing and content of the land legislation conceded in 1903, 1909, 1923 and 1933. Who won and who lost in the course of twentieth-century Irish land struggles is a topic considered at some length.
The question of land in Ireland has long been at the heart of political, social and cultural debates. In eleven essays a group of authors including some of the most influential historians and social scientists of modern Ireland, and up-and-coming scholars, explore Ireland's land questions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book is divided into three sections, the first of which presents the current state of our understanding of the issue of land in Ireland in two survey essays that cover the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book's second section presents a series of reflections in which historians and social scientists look back on how they have approached the topic of land in Ireland in their earlier writings. A third section presents some innovative new research on various aspects of the Irish land question.