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Governing HiberniaBritish Politicians and Ireland 1800–1921$
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K. Theodore Hoppen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207436

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207436.001.0001

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Ambiguous Outcomes

Ambiguous Outcomes

(p.154) 6 Ambiguous Outcomes
Governing Hibernia

K. Theodore Hoppen

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the results of London’s mid-century policy of assimilationism, especially that introduced during and after the Great Famine in an effort to anglicize and modernize Ireland’s agrarian situation. Within a decade of the Famine’s end it was becoming more and more clear that assimilation had either failed or produced very different results from those that had been expected. The Encumbered Estates Act of 1849, which had been designed to render landlords in Ireland more efficient, more modern, more capitalistic, proved a complete failure in these respects. Certainly the more efficient landlords who had survived the Famine proved themselves economically successful over the short run. Certainly, also, the bottom and poorer elements of agrarian society suffered the greatest attrition. However, what, in anything but the shortest term, this produced was a farming population far more economically coherent then before and now able to mount more effective political attacks upon the powers that be, both locally and in Westminster and Whitehall.

Keywords:   assimilationist failure, land, landlords, farmers, labourers, agrarian structures

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