Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
This thesis explores the political agenda of Terence O’Neill, Northern Ireland’s fourth Prime Minister, who served from 1963-1969. Since the creation of the Northern Irish government in 1921, the ruling Unionist Party held a stagnant monopoly over regional political life. This de facto one-party state induced mass desire for systematic reform by the 1960s. In 1963, O’Neill emerged to take up this cause. Many previous studies of the O’Neill Ministry have taken only cursory glances at the Premier’s policy program. While many such scholarly works have homed in on his tepid community relations platform, these policies were always secondary to O’Neill’s larger ambitions. I argue that, throughout his tenure, Terence O’Neill prioritized integrating Northern Ireland into the Western post-war community by attempting to create a modern industrial consumer society in his province. Economic and political modernization centered O’Neill’s belief system. While many Northern Irish people flocked to the Premier’s political banner, his uncompromising leadership, in addition to his disregard for the woes of the working classes, earned him growing ire by the late 1960s. O’Neill’s vision—to create a “New Ulster”—rent the province in twain. He legitimized the presence of European liberalism in Northern Ireland just as he brought his country ever closer to civil war.
Higgins, Aaron, "The Rise and Fall of ‘New Ulster’: Northern Irish Politics in Flux, 1963-1969" (2020). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1445.
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