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British’s Government’s Intervention during the Great Irish Famine

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The Great Irish Famine happened during the mid-19th century, and was caused by potato blight, which hit Ireland in 1845 (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 43). It destroyed a big portion of crops so it became “lethal” due to the fact that Ireland was very dependent on potatoes in their everyday meals (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 43). This led to a scarce amount of food and many died from starvation, or other diseases that resulted from the famine (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 51). In the 1800s, Ireland had already lost their own parliament, so “all legislative and executive power was therefore centralized at Westminster,” which meant the UK parliament of the British government was responsible for Irish relief in their time of need, especially when the potatoes failed (Kinealy, Death-Dealing Famine 41). The British government had many interventions in Ireland during the Great Famine, and the interventions were supposed to contribute to famine relief, and improve social conditions in Ireland. Social conditions included aspects of people’s health, jobs and employment at the time, as well as, the general well-being of the people and their quality of life. This leads to the question: How did the British Government’s intervention in famine relief impact the social conditions in Ireland during the mid-19th century? Through the analysis of government interventions, such as, the establishment of poor laws, the placement of taxes, the promotion of Indian meals, the creation of public works and soup kitchens, it will become evident that the British government did not positively impact the social conditions in Ireland during the mid-19th century.

There were many government interventions that happened at the time, and each intervent...

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...’47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy, and Memory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Print.

---“Ireland’s Great Famine. An Overview.” When the Potato Failed: Causes and Effects of the ‘last European subsistence crisis, 1845-1850. Ed. Cormac O Grada, Richard Paping, and Eric Vanhaute. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2007. Print.

Gray, Peter. Famine, Land and Politics: British Government and Irish Society 1843-1850. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1999. Print.

Kinealy, Christine. A Death-Dealing Famine: The Great Hunger in Ireland. London: Pluto Press, 1997. Print.

---“The Role of the Poor Law during the Famine.” The Great Irish Famine. Ed. Cathal Poirteir. Dublin: Mercier Press, 1995. Print.

Lengel, Edward G. The Irish Through British Eyes: Perception of Ireland in the Famine Era. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2002. Print.
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