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Session 3

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1. "Fenianism was essentially a republican movement, based upon a separatist principle and a belief that the solution to Irish independence could only be solved by physical force." Discuss.
Consider these questions: (i) In what ways was Fenianism different from contemporary and earlier expressions of Irish nationalism - e.g. Home Rule?
(ii) What did Fenianism share in common with the ideals of the United Irishmen of the 18th century?
(iii) Why did the Fenian movement come to such an ignominious end in the 1870's, or did it?

2. "The Land League was essentially a moral force movement." Discuss.
The Land League was a revolutionary movement without the guns. Yet it compelled the British Prime Minister, William Gladstone, to initiate a series of Land Acts (beginning with those passed by Liberal governments under Gladstone in 1870 and 1881/2), which, over a period of 50 years, brought about what might be considered the real revolution in Ireland - the transference of the ownership of the land of Ireland from a feudal landlord class to the people. Look at the methods of the Land League - organizing the peasantry, making them politically aware, ostracism of those who broke the 'rules', mass demonstrations and, from it, intimidation. When most of its members were put in jail, the Leaguers' women folk formed the Ladies Land League, led by Anna Parnell, Charles Parnell's sister.


Copyright ©2008 Aidan Breen, Ph.D.