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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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Ireland and the Empire

Ireland and the Empire

(p.494) 22 Ireland and the Empire
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century

David Fitzpatrick

Oxford University Press

The formal Union of the kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain (1801–1922) masked a hybrid administration with manifest colonial elements, allowing variant interpretations of the character of Ireland's dependency. This chapter examines the involvement in the British Empire of both Ireland and the Irish. It also addresses the following questions: Is it appropriate to depict Ireland under the Union as a colony? Why have historians found Ireland so difficult to place in their constructions of the Empire and Imperialism? In what ways did political conflict concerning Ireland's future intersect with broader issues of Imperial development? How important were the Irish themselves as colonists? And in what ways did Ireland and the Irish influence the Empire? Ireland's influence on the Empire cannot be precisely assessed, since the impact of particular Irish men and women was only partly and dubiously attributable to their ethnicity. The nineteenth century Irish might elect to play the parts of colonials (whether deferential or resentful), metropolitans, or colonizers.

Keywords:   Ireland, Great Britain, political conflict, Irish people, Union, Imperialism, colonists, colony, ethnicity

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