Why did Wales stay in the union in the early 20th century?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Wales embraced devolution in 1997 with the least passion of any of the polities of the United Kingdom and has subsequently enjoyed the most restrained of the three devolution settlements. Of all the questions relating to the evolving constitution and reform of the United Kingdom, the continuing survival of the Welsh union is surely one of the most intriguing and important. And yet Wales, its union and unionism, are generally taken for granted in a modern historiography which has focused (not unlike its Scottish counterpart) on labour and nationalism. Focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this chapter addresses the longevity of union, the relative success of unionism, and the constraints on Welsh nationalism. Emphasizing the comparisons with the Scottish and Irish unions (and indeed with wider union settlements), the chapter seeks to build upon, and advance beyond, Jackson’s earlier study, The Two Unions: Ireland, Scotland and the Survival of the United Kingdom (OUP, 2012).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReform and its complexities in modern Britain
Subtitle of host publicationEssays inspired by Sir Brian Harrison
EditorsBruce Kinzer, Molly Baer Kramer, Richard Trainor
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9780191954290
ISBN (Print)9780192863423
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2022


  • Wales
  • history
  • union
  • unionism
  • home rule
  • devolution
  • nationalism
  • empire
  • United Kingdom


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