Butt, Isaac

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Butt, Isaac,

1813–79, Irish politician and nationalist leader. A member of both the Irish and the English bar, he was a noted conservative lawyer and scholar and an opponent of Daniel O'ConnellO'Connell, Daniel,
1775–1847, Irish political leader. He is known as the Liberator. Admitted to the Irish bar in 1798, O'Connell built up a lucrative law practice.
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. After the Irish famine experience of the 1840s, however, he became increasingly liberal, defended participants in the abortive Young Ireland revolt (1848), and entered (1852) Parliament as a Liberal-Conservative. He continually urged land tenure reform, defended the Fenian leaders, and founded (1870) the Home Rule Society. By 1874 the parliamentary group, the Home Rule League, comprised 56 members under his leadership. He remained nominal leader of the Home RuleHome Rule,
in Irish and English history, political slogan adopted by Irish nationalists in the 19th cent. to describe their objective of self-government for Ireland. Origins of the Home Rule Movement
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 movement until his death, although effective leadership gradually passed to Charles Stewart ParnellParnell, Charles Stewart
, 1846–91, Irish nationalist leader. Haughty and sensitive, Parnell was only a mediocre orator, but he possessed a marked personal fascination and was a shrewd political and parliamentary tactician.
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See L. J. McCaffrey, Irish Federalism in the 1870's (1962); D. Thornley, Isaac Butt and Home Rule (1964).

Butt, Isaac


Born Sept. 6, 1813, in Glenfin, County Donegal; died May 5, 1879, in Dublin. Irish political figure.

Butt was a professor of political economy at Dublin University (from 1836), a journalist, and an attorney. In the 1860’s he was prominent as a defense attorney in several trials of participants in the Irish liberation movement. In 1870 he was one of the founders of the Association for the Home Government of Ireland (after 1873, the Irish Home Rule League) and one of the leaders of the Irish opposition in the British Parliament. In the struggle for Irish self-government Butt supported moderate tactics and criticized the method of parliamentary obstruction. As a result, Butt lost his influence in the Home Rule League, and Charles Parnell became its leader.