This is a survey of the origins and development of the Catholic Question in 18th and early 19th century Ireland. One of the Beresford family remarked in 1820: "When I was a boy the 'Irish People' meant the Protestants, now it means the Roman Catholics." In essence this book traces how that change came about and explains its causes. Contents: The Seventeenth Century Background, 1600-1690; The Penal Laws: Politics and the Protestant Nation, 1690-1750; The Emergence of the Catholic Question in the 1750s; European Enlightenment, English Perceptions and Irish Politics, 1750-1775; The Catholic Relief Acts of 1778 and 1782; The Catholic Question and Parliamentary Reform in the 1780s; The Catholic Relief Act of 1792; The 1793 Revolution; "Catholic Defenderism...Protestant Ascendancy": Ireland 1784-95; "To Rally the Protestants": Ireland 1795-98; Rebellion and Union, 1798-1801; The Rise of the Catholic Nation, Part 1, 1801-12; The Rise of the Catholic Nation, Part 2, 1813-23; Epilogue: The Winning of Catholic Emancipation, 1823-29; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
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