Chapter

‘Black ’47’: Repeal in retreat

Christine Kinealy

in Repeal and Revolution

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780719065163
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702963 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719065163.003.0004
‘Black ’47’: Repeal in retreat

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This chapter traces the challenges faced by the Irish Confederation, formed in January 1847, in trying to rebuild a robust, united movement. Resistance was especially strong amongst members of Old Ireland, who, paradoxically, showed their readiness to employ physical force tactics against their former colleagues. By the end of the year, however, divisions were appearing in the Confederation. A small minority led by John Mitchel, angered by the famine polices of the British government and the indifference of many Irish landlords to the suffering of the poor, argued for a social revolution to accompany political independence. Consequently, at the beginning of 1848, the supporters of Repeal appeared to be more divided than ever and thus the likelihood of a revolution was remote. Moreover, despite bearing the main financial burden of famine relief, many landlords remained aloof from the Repeal movement, while the poor were still dealing with the day-to-day realities of starvation.

Keywords: Irish Confederation; resistance; Old Ireland; John Mitchel; famine policies; social revolution; Repeal movement

Chapter.  18821 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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