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Political Thought in Ireland 1776-1798Republicanism, Patriotism, and Radicalism$
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Stephen Small

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257799

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199257799.001.0001

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The Polarization and Fragmentation of Patriotism, 1791-1793

The Polarization and Fragmentation of Patriotism, 1791-1793

(p.190) 6 The Polarization and Fragmentation of Patriotism, 1791-1793
Political Thought in Ireland 1776-1798

Stephen Small

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the effects on patriotism and radicalism of the increasing influence of the French Revolution and the emergence of the United Irishmen. It shows how the tensions in Irish patriotism between its classical republican inheritance and its radical, egalitarian tendencies were stretched to breaking point by the outbreak of war with France. While the French Revolution fractured the patriot tradition, causing some of its adherents to develop its more radical possibilities, Irish radicalism nevertheless remained rooted within elements of this patriotism. The victories on free trade and legislative independence had launched the radical movement, not the French Revolution, and in many respects it was in the 1780s, and not the 1790s, that the basic radical position took shape. Thus, when the French Revolution came, Ireland already had a hardened group of activists, in possession of a radical patriot inheritance, who had cut their teeth a decade earlier.

Keywords:   Ireland, patriotism, radicalism, French Revolution, United Irishmen, classical republicanism, France, Catholic Church

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