John Hume in America: From Derry to DC


Maurice Fitzpatrick

Foreword by Senator George J. Mitchell

October 2017

John Hume in America explores the intricate negotiations that persuaded key players in US politics to merge their concerns with John Hume’s vision of peace, highlighting his paramount role in the progression of Irish-American relations.



John Hume, Ireland’s greatest peace-maker, is widely recognised as the architect of the Northern Ireland peace process. In John Hume in America, Maurice Fitzpatrick explores how Hume created this framework for peace through the cultivation of an unprecedented and bountiful relationship with the White House and the US Congress.

John Hume’s political vision and innate sense of diplomacy persuaded key players in US politics to merge their concerns with his own. Ted Kennedy, Tip O’Neill, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Hugh Carey – together known as the ‘Four Horsemen’ – were won over to his cause, lending the campaign for equality in Northern Ireland worldwide credibility and putting considerable pressure on the British and Irish governments to strive for peace. Through his work with the ‘Four Horsemen’, Hume engaged every American president from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton.

John Hume in America, a towering achievement, supported by the Hume family, explores the intricate negotiations that made this possible and highlights Hume’s paramount role in leveraging Irish–America. Maurice Fitzpatrick’s seminal work is the missing piece in the jigsaw of Hume’s political life, tracing his philosophy of non-violence during the Civil Rights Movement through to his indispensable work with friends in the US towards the creation of a new political framework in Northern Ireland.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Senator George J. Mitchell


  1. The Journey towards Politics, 1964–74
  2. The American Dimension Unleashed
  3. The Growth of the Irish Machine in Washington
  4. Washington: Shifting Policy in London on Ireland, 1977–81
  5. A Politics of Conscience: Human Rights and Democracy
  6. From Rejection to Acceptance
  7. Hume–Adams, 1985–8
  8. Washington and Europe, 1988–93
  9. The Political Process and the Peace Process, 1993–8

Epilogue: Echoes Down the Years

Appendix: John Hume’s Nobel Lecture

About the Author

Maurice Fitzpatrick was educated at Trinity College Dublin. He is a lecturer, a film-maker and author. He has worked with John Hume in the past on a book and BBC/RTÉ film, The Boys of St. Columb’s, published and broadcast in 2010. In 2013, he wrote & directed a documentary film for the BBC on Brian Friel’s Translations. He also writes journalism, primarily writing on Irish affairs.

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