February 12

February 12 - February 12, 2008 Agrarian crime and secret...

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February 12, 2008 Agrarian crime and secret societies in Ireland What you need to know about Ireland (but were afraid to ask) 1. Overwhelmingly rural society: importance of access to land 2. Unequal society: society shaped like a pyramid 3. Few people owned the land – most people rented farms (“tenant farmers”) 4. Vast majority of Irish people catholic (80%) 5. Small percentage of protestants held powerful positions in society (owned much of the land) 6. Colonial relationship with Britain Conquered in 1169; 1801 Ireland & Britain form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (or, the UK) but Ireland treated as colony 8. Britain as state: symbols & agents of state (eg landlords, police, JPs) often seen in terms of colonial rule and therefore resisted Social Structure of rural Ireland: Pyramid: Landlords 10,000 (families Tenant Farmers 400,000 (families) Labourers 1,300,000 (families) Irish Rural Society (19th century) 1. Small farms: 1844 – ½ all farms under 11 acres 2. Occupation of land separate from ownership: farmers were tenants 3. Yearly tenancies – few leases = insecurity 4. Competition for land 1790-1840: pop increased from 4 to 8 million why: (debatable) potato → marriage → births 5. Subdivision of land common – often inadequate farms Agrarian Outrage:
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Crime category peculiar to Ireland Action (usually violent) carried out in context of dispute over land Eviction from farm; inheritance of land Absolute necessity of access to land for survival: self-sufficiency Ireland: murder, cattle maiming, burning property: land disputes Most common form: threatening letter (45% of all agrarian crimes) Threatening letter sent to Thomas Moran of Streamstown, Co Westmeath (1869) Thomas Moran, I hereby command you to give up the Lands you hold in Streamstown that is Cline’s and Kenny’s. Now I order you under pain of instant death to give it up to the man who is the true owner of it a man that you deprived of it by injustice and deceit
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February 12 - February 12, 2008 Agrarian crime and secret...

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