The Union Between Britain and Ireland: One People?
The interpretation of the 1798 rebellion became a key battleground; for hard-line Protestants, it became a matter of necessity to insist that the rebellion was inspired by visceral Catholic sectarianism. The objective of British policy was to create an armed nation with loyal Catholic support. Prime Minister William Pitt was always explicit about the strategic considerations involved in the Anglo–Irish relationship. However, Pitt's plans to link Catholic emancipation to the union were dropped by an unusually determined King — backed by the Church of England — Pitt and his allies were forced to abandon the linkage and resign from government on 3 February 1801. In Ireland, a sense of resentment began to intensify. English hypocrisy was too visible. It was a sense of British indifference which threatened to undermine the union.
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