From Carnacon to Cape Town: An interpretive study of the transnational career of Senator Colonel Maurice Moore (1854-1939), soldier, diplomat and politician
O'Neill, Madeline Theresa
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In this thesis, the contextual, thematic, biography of Senator Colonel Maurice Moore, a Catholic member of the Irish Ascendancy is used as a prism through which to interpret and reflect on a military and political career that conjoined two independence movements in South Africa and Ireland from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth. This perspective has contributed some significant results in terms of understanding the exchanges between an Irish and Afrikaner elite which were made visible by Moore's experience. By reviving a dormant narrative of the relationship between South Africa and Ireland within discrete and finite periods, from 1879 to 1932, it has illuminated the effects of a transnational career on the later nationalist involvement of a member of a Catholic elite, poised delicately and ambiguously, between tradition, class, empire and nation. This South African context is employed within three periods of colonial warfare, and the post-war evolution of national sovereignties within commonwealth. It can be observed that colonial Africa acted as a crucible for change, dislodging Moore from previous imperial and military loyalties much as it did for his fellow ascendancy nationalist and colonial administrator, Roger Casement. This study interprets those influences throughout Moore's career as a soldier, a nationalist activist, and a Senator in the new Irish State. Three thematic analyses emerge from this perspective; the first of them being the response of a member of an under-researched Catholic elite to the changes that undermined the supremacy of that class, by striving to find a significant role within Irish nationalism and subsequently, the Irish state. Like the Afrikaners, Moore saw language and cultural revivals in both sites as necessary to maintaining a unified, essentialist, national identity. This identification allowed parallels, rather than hard comparisons to be drawn between the putatively colonial and independence processes in both places during discrete and limited temporalities. These took the form of rhetorical device, affinities, and shared identifications as an oppressed and suffering peoples which found their way into the nationalist discourse of both. The third theme within this thesis deals with the historiographical neglect of both Moore's nationalist career, and the ambiguous nature of the close relationship between Ireland and South Africa in critical periods of their experience as imperially dominated nations. These questions are explored within a conceptual framework devised within five chapters exploring those parts of Moore's experience that most intersect with the themes in question. A rationale is provided for this biographical study by those links and exchanges and by Moore's political and social prominence which gained him a place in two national governmental and military archives.
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