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Political Thought in Ireland 1776-1798Republicanism, Patriotism, and Radicalism$
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Stephen Small

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257799

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199257799.001.0001

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Patriotism and Radical Reform, 1782-1785

Patriotism and Radical Reform, 1782-1785

(p.113) 4 Patriotism and Radical Reform, 1782-1785
Political Thought in Ireland 1776-1798

Stephen Small

Oxford University Press

After 1782, many Irish patriots developed a genuinely radical agenda focused on parliamentary reform. This put the broad church of Irish patriotism under immense strain, as previous allies disagreed about the merits of radical reform and the prudence of Catholic inclusion in the polity. This chapter examines the emergence of the movement for radical parliamentary reform from patriotism, describes the various political languages and arguments used by early radical reformers between 1783 and 1785, and analyses the tensions between classical republicanism, Protestant superiority, and natural rights. These tensions reflected competing definitions of ‘the people’ and fundamental doubts over popular sovereignty caused by deep-seated Protestant concerns over Catholic rationality, virtue, and capacity for liberty.

Keywords:   Ireland, patriotism, radicalism, parliamentary reform, political languages, classical republicanism, Protestant superiority, natural rights, Catholicism

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