The Nature of the Irish Nationalism was Changed by the Act of Union in 1800

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The Act of Union in 1800 was a significant factor to the nature of Irish nationalism in 1800. Prior to the Act, the society of the united Irishmen, a republican society who wanted parliamentary reform and Catholic Emancipation, fought, under the leadership of Robert Emmet, with physical force for their complete independence. Because of their military strand they differed from their predecessors the ‘Protestant Patriots’, this is because the society was heavily influenced by revolutionary events in France and New America in the late 18th century. The rebellion, although unsuccessful, with its leader imprisoned, had major consequential effects; which was the passing of the Act of Union in 1800. The Act set the tone for the rest of Irish history; once emancipation failed to materialize directly after the union, the Catholic issue began to dominate both Irish and English politics. After the Act of union had been passed, Daniel O’Connell worked effectively in addressing Irish grievances; his actions were significant in contributing to the changing nature of the Irish question. Even though O’Connell tried to address the same issues as the society of united Irishmen, he abandoned the use of violence and instead took a constitutional approach such as the use of monster meetings and working alongside parliament in order to gain catholic emancipation and repeal of the union. O’Connell’s zeal for reform influenced parliament in passing the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. Even though in the short term the Act had been insignificant in Ireland as the British government purposely reduced the Irish electorate by increasing qualifications from 40 shillings to £10 in an attempt to retain Protestant dominance, it was the prime cause for the d... ... middle of paper ... ...nment in Ireland was unavoidable. By the 1900s the high levels of poverty, eviction and enforced emigration had disappeared for the great Irish majority. Even though post Famine Ireland saw the continuation of small farms, the way Irish farmers saw agriculture changed. There was a great fall in the acreage devoted to potato cultivation from 2.1 million acres (1840s) to 587,000 acres (1908) . Instead of cultivating potatoes, pasture farming became more capital and by the end of the century Ireland saw twice as many dry cattle and sheep than 50 years prior to the famine . Additionally, between 1854-6 the Crimean War gave a temporary stimulus to the demand for grain. Landlords virtually vanished and the great majority of Irish holdings became to be owned by Irish peasant proprietors, sons and grandsons of men who ‘often been treated with less respect than cattle’ .

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the act of union in 1800 set the tone for the rest of irish history.
  • Analyzes how daniel o'connell's zeal for reform influenced parliament in passing the catholic emancipation act in 1829. his actions contributed to the changing nature of the irish question.
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