Between 1879 and 1923, Ireland experienced two revolutions. The first — beginning with the Land War in 1879 and, arguably, not ending until 1984 when the Land Commission suspended its activities — constituted a social revolution. The second — beginning in 1916 and ending in 1923 — was a political revolution, involving the transfer of state power from one elite to another. This book examines the critical phase of the first revolution — that of the impact of the Wyndham Land Act on Irish society (1903-21) — and also considers the influence of the unfinished elements of the first revolution on the nationalist politics and military struggle that resulted in the second (political) revolution. Land played a critical role in both revolutions; and in the absence of the first, the second would undoubtedly have been accompanied by an extensive (and probably violent) redistribution of property. The combined result of these revolutions was to create a class of sturdy smallholders who would dominate Irish society for most of the 20th century.
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