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Forgetful RemembranceSocial Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster$
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Guy Beiner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198749356.001.0001

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Amnesty and Amnesia

Amnesty and Amnesia

The Aftermath of 1798

(p.89) 2 Amnesty and Amnesia
Forgetful Remembrance

Guy Beiner

Oxford University Press

Policies of pacification through amnesty imply the promise of forgetting and forgiving. However, the attempt to decree collective amnesia from above is subject to contestation. The brutal suppression of the 1798 rebellion in Ulster, enforced through counter-revolutionary measures of state terror, and the limitations placed on the attempt to introduce amnesty for the rebels left a residue of bitter memories, which could not be openly discussed in public. Those who benefitted from pardons and converted to loyalism had an incentive to disremember the rebellion. In addition, transportation, exile, and mass emigration of former rebels removed many recollections from social memory. On the other hand, radicals were determined not to forget and cultivated clandestine narratives of counter-memory, which encouraged the development of a tensely ambiguous culture of social forgetting.

Keywords:   amnesty, reconciliation, political conversion, loyalism, state terror, counter-memory, exile and emigration, martial law, social memory, collective amnesia

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