Isaac Butt (1813-1879) was an Irish nationalist politician and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party until his death in 1879. Born into a Protestant landed family in County Donegal, Butt was originally a Tory and an Orangeman, largely loyal to the British Empire and to the Protestant Ascendancy in his early life. In 1833, he was one of the co-founders of the Dublin University Magazine, and was a Professor of Political Economy at Trinity College from 1836 to 1841. Butt however would be best known outside of politics as a barrister, providing famous legal counsel for both the Young Irelanders and the later Fenians. Once a staunch opponent of Daniel O’Connell and Repeal, the Famine fundamentally changed Butt’s political faith, leading him to dispense first with English Free Trade, then with direct British rule in Ireland altogether. Butt’s greatest legacy however in Irish Nationalism would be the formation of the Home Rule League, a movement that would dominate Irish nationalist politics for almost half a century, although defined Home Rule carefully within the Imperial context of federalism, rather than as a stepping stone to the full independence of Ireland.

Writings

Protection To Home Industry (1846)