The United Irishman
The 1790s, coloured by revolutions in France and North America, were to see the birth of republicanism in Ireland and the emergence of radical Presbyterianism in the north. The decade is increasingly being considered as one of the most formative in modern Irish history.
Twenty-two distinguished international historians – contributors to the 1991 conference marking the bicentenary of the founding of the Societies of United Irishmen in Belfast and Dublin – offer fresh interpretations of the period: their subjects include attractive and cosmopolitan figures such as Wolfe Tone, Edmund Burke, John Fitzgibbon, Archbishop Troy, Tom Paine and Lord Edward Fitzgerald; the political clubs and press in France; Ireland’s reception of the French Revolution; Scottish radicalism, Dissent, popular loyalism and separatism; Ulster’s Defenders, the raising of Yeomanry and role of Freemasonry; the legacy of the United Irish exiles in America; the complex political dynamics which culminated in the 1798 rebellion.
These scholarly evaluations give a fascinating composite portrait of the 1790s Ireland, a crucible of nationalism, nascent nineteenth-century democratic politics and social and cultural change. They make a significant contribution to the study and understanding of Irish history.
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