The Famine Revision - The Famine How does the Famine...

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The Famine How does the Famine represent a watershed in modern Irish history? “The Famine was cause by crop failure but exacerbated by the governments response”: Discuss What caused the Famine? Why did crop problems lead to humanitarian disaster? Causes: - Combination of social, economic and political factors - Pre-famine social structures, governmental reaction to the blight and consequent demographical trends caused devastation. Pre-Famine social structures: - 1841 7/8 people were living in rural areas. - Almost ¾ of all families were dependent on agriculture - S.J. Connolly divides the social structure of Ireland into four groups; all suggest a dependency on the land. - Extreme dependency on the land left Irish society trapped in the agricultural failure that resulted in the famine crisis. - Ireland was established on a dual- economy of trade and money. This dual economy further exposes dependency on the land. - Effects of the socio-economic system worsened as the population boomed. - 1772: 3m, 1841: 8m - Irish population had no new means of providing employment to the growing population because Ireland had not been affected by the industrial revolution. - Population stayed in the country side. - The Potato Blight: - Catalyst for disaster. - 60% of the nations food supply consisted of potato. - Bourke: Irelands fate was inescapable once the crop were infected. - Kinnealy argues against Bourke: It is over simplification to attribute disaster solely to the potato. The blight was the catalyst of devestation in an agrarian system which the agriculture economy of Ireland had created. The Government Response: - Ireland had been linked to Britain in the Act of Union 1800 and should have benefited from the advantages of being so closely linked to a prosperous and powerful nation. - Debate has emerged over whether the famine amounted to genocide by the British against the Irish. Though most historians have discredited this.
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- Though many historians agree that government policies during the famine were misguided and ultimately a disaster. -
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2008 for the course HISTORY Ireland 18 taught by Professor Drmurphy during the Spring '08 term at Trinity College Dublin.

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The Famine Revision - The Famine How does the Famine...

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