Chapter

‘Graves which their own cowardice has digged’: the aftermath

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/9780719065163.003.0008
‘Graves which their own cowardice has digged’: the aftermath

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This chapter explores how the country adjusted to not only a failed uprising, but the loss of almost two million people as a result of mortality and emigration. Although it concerned the government, the flurry of revolutionary activities after July 1848 was for the most part isolated and unnoticed by the majority of Irish people. The activities of Lalor, Brenan and others took place against the backdrop of hunger and social dislocation caused by the reappearance of potato blight in the previous year. It meant that, yet again, there was extensive starvation and homelessness in the country, with one million people depending on the draconian Poor Law for survival. The political agitators who escaped to America travelled on the same ships that carried hundreds of thousands of famine-worn Irish out of Ireland. For those who remained in the country, years of political agitation had ended in failure, in 1843 as well as in 1848. The decade which had commenced with the formation of the Repeal Association had ended with both constitutional and physical force nationalism in tatters.

Keywords: revolutionary activities; hunger; social dislocation; starvation; Poor Law; emigration; nationalism

Chapter.  11314 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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