History in the thought of the architects of peace in Northern Ireland: Gerry Adams, John Hume, and David Trimble.
Dolan, Thomas Pierce
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This thesis explores the historical imaginations exhibited by the key political architects of the Northern Ireland Peace Process: Gerry Adams, John Hume and David Trimble. It compares and contrasts ways in which each has engaged the ideological resource of history throughout their respective biographies, exploring the various visions of history, both Irish and otherwise, that have intrigued them, and the environments and experiences that moulded their view of the past. Exploiting a wide range of archival sources, along with original interviews and conversations with the ‘peacemakers’ themselves, it considers how Adams, Hume and Trimble learnt about history; how they subsequently imagined and wrote about it, and how they ultimately applied it within their influential political thinking. It is a study of the relationship between historical and political imagination, delivering fresh and revealing intellectual profiles of the ‘peacemakers’. Significantly, it demonstrates how ideas and visions of history, commonly perceived as somehow to blame for conflict in Northern Ireland, were put to positive use by Adams, Hume and Trimble. It therefore considers how visions of history contributed to the ideological evolution of peace and political stability on the island.