Introduction: Unionist Lives

  • Paul Ward


The problematic nature of the multi-national United Kingdom has been recognized for a long time. The United Kingdom is not a single nation but different nations held together by various Acts of Union. Wales was incorporated with England in 1536 and 1543, Scotland became part of Great Britain in 1707 and Ireland’s Act of Union, passed in 1800, came into operation in 1801. In 1921, the United Kingdom, for the first time in four hundred years, saw its geographical extent diminished through the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 and the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Six counties in north east Ireland were named Northern Ireland and retained within the United Kingdom, but the formation of the Irish Free State in the south meant that the territorial area of the Union was reduced for the first time in centuries. The union of nations that constituted the United Kingdom was, therefore, a dynamic relationship given to ebb and flow according to the political economy of national identity in the four nations.


Civil Society National Identity Liberal Party Conservative Party British Broadcasting Corporation 
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© Paul Ward 2005

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  • Paul Ward

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