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Ireland and EmpireColonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture$
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Stephen Howe

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199249909

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199249909.001.0001

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The Past in the Present

The Past in the Present

(p.21) 3 The Past in the Present
Ireland and Empire

Stephen Howe

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses British domination over Ireland and Irish nationalism. By the late medieval period, the English Crown had a long-established claim to sovereignty over Ireland. Between then and the early seventeenth century, that drive for domination and assimilation both intensified and faced new challenges. Historical research depicts an eighteenth-century Ireland economically more dynamic, socially and culturally more variegated, politically more pluralist, and less oppressive power wielded either by landlords or by London. The failure of the United Irishmen, ushered in legislative Union with Britain. For the next 120 years Ireland was, legislatively, to be part of a unitary Kingdom: on a constitutional level at least they never clearly defined that ‘colonial’ status of Ireland had ended. It gained legislative independence in 1921–2 and was accompanied by Partition, and by civil war in the newly self-governing South — which soon settled into peaceable constitutional politics accompanied by what many came to view as economic stagnation and cultural parochialism.

Keywords:   sovereignty, legislative Union, colonial status, Partition, civil war, Ireland, Irish nationalism

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