Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Rebecca Friedman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Gwyn Davies

Third Advisor's Name

Jenna Gibbs

Fourth Advisor's Name

Meri-Jane Rochelson


British Empire, Irish Nationalist Press, Indian Nationalist Press, Imperial Wars, Boer War, Boxer Rebellion, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Arthur Griffith, Kesari, United Irishman

Date of Defense



The era between the close of the nineteenth century and the onset of the First World War witnessed a marked increase in radical agitation among Indian and Irish nationalists. The most outspoken political leaders of the day founded a series of widely circulated newspapers in India and Ireland, placing these editors in the enviable position of both reporting and creating the news. Nationalist journalists were in the vanguard of those pressing vocally for an independent India and Ireland, and together constituted an increasingly problematic contingent for the British Empire. The advanced-nationalist press in Ireland and the nationalist press in India took the lead in facilitating the exchange of provocative ideas—raising awareness of perceived imperial injustices, offering strategic advice, and cementing international solidarity.

Irish and Indian press coverage of Britain’s imperial wars constituted one of the premier weapons in the nationalists’ arsenal, permitting them to build support for their ideology and forward their agenda in a manner both rapid and definitive. Directing their readers’ attention to conflicts overseas proved instructive in how the Empire dealt with those who resisted its policies, and also showcased how it conducted its affairs with its allies. As such, critical press coverage of the Boxer Rebellion, Boer War, Russo-Japanese War, and World War I bred disaffection for the Empire, while attempts by the Empire to suppress the critiques further alienated the public.

This dissertation offers the first comparative analysis of the major nationalist press organs in India and Ireland, using the prism of war to illustrate the increasingly persuasive role of the press in promoting resistance to the Empire. It focuses on how the leading Indian and Irish editors not only fostered a nationalist agenda within their own countries, but also worked in concert to construct a global anti-imperialist platform. By highlighting the anti-imperial rhetoric of the nationalist press in India and Ireland and illuminating their strategies for attaining self-government, this study deepens understanding of the seeds of nationalism, making a contribution to comparative imperial scholarship, and demonstrating the power of the media to alter imperial dynamics and effect political change.





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