Mobilising for land, nation and class interests: agrarian agitation in Finland and Ireland, 1879-1918

Sami Toni Juhani Suodenjoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article explores the comparative history of land agitation and how it evolved and intersected with nationalism and socialism in Finland and Ireland between the Irish Land War and the Finnish Civil War of 1918. Drawing on current scholarship as well as contemporary newspapers and official records, the article shows that an organised land movement developed later and was markedly less violent in Finland than in Ireland. Moreover, while in Ireland the association of landlordism with British rule helped to fuse the land movement with nationalist mobilisation during the Land War, in Finland the tie between the land movement and nationalism remained weak. This was a consequence of Finnish nationalists’ strong affiliation with landowning farmers, which hindered their success in mobilising tenant farmers and agricultural workers. Consequently, the Finnish countryside witnessed a remarkable rise in the socialist movement in the early 1900s. The socialist leanings of the Finnish land movement were greatly influenced by the Russian revolutions, whereas in Ireland militant Fenianism, often emanating from Irish America, affected land agitation more than socialism. As to transnational exchanges, the article also indicates the influence of Irish rural unrest and the related land acts on Finnish public debates and legislation.
Translated title of the contributionMaan, kansakunnan ja luokkaetujen puolesta: poliittinen agitaatio Suomen ja Irlannin maaseudulla 1879-1918
Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish Historical Studies
Issue number160
Pages (from-to)200-220
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • socialism
  • nationalism
  • political movements
  • agitation
  • Land War
  • civil war
  • Finnish history
  • Irish history
  • transnational history
  • Comparative History
  • tenant farmers
  • labour
  • land reforms
  • revolution
  • political violence

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