The Great Irish Famine

The Great Irish Famine free pdf ebook was written by Jeffrey D. Bowman on January 29, 1999 consist of 117 page(s). The pdf file is provided by and available on pdfpedia since April 02, 2012.

the great irish famine ireland 1847 approved by the new jersey commission..introduction between 1845 and 1850, more than a million irish people starved..summary should be used first. thank you for all your efforts...

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The Great Irish Famine pdf

: 840
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: April 02, 2012
: Jeffrey D. Bowman
Total Page(s)
: 117
The Great Irish Famine - page 1
The Great Irish Famine Ireland 1847 Approved by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education on September 10th, 1996, for inclusion in the Holocaust and Genocide Curriculum at the secondary level. Revision submitted 11/26/98. 0.
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The Great Irish Famine - page 2
DEDICATION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This curriculum is dedicated to the millions of Irish who suffered and perished in the Great Starvation. It is also dedicated to those who escaped by emigration, and to the great Irish Diaspora worldwide. The Irish Famine Curriculum would not have been possible without the work of New Jersey Senator James E. McGreevey, Rutgers Economics Professor Jack Worrall, historian Dr. Christine Kinealy, teacher Jim Masker, and author Liz Curtis. We express our gratitude to Eoin McKiernan, Fr. Des Wilson, the late Dennis Clark, and the late Michael J. Kane, who have shown us their Faith by their Works. "Truth flourishes where the student's lamp has shown, and there alone..." - W.B. Yeats, 1921 TEACHER'S INTRODUCTION Between 1845 and 1850, more than a million Irish people starved to death while massive quantities of food were being exported from their country. A half million were evicted from their homes during the potato blight, and a million and a half emigrated to America, Britain and Australia, often on-board rotting, overcrowded "coffin ships". This is the story of how that immense tragedy came to pass. The necessary historical and political context for a study of the Irish Famine is provided to you in the Teacher and Student Summary, immediately following the Table of Contents. It would be very difficult for the student to understand any of the six study units that follow without first reading the Summary. If time constraints only permit the study of one or two sections of this curriculum, the Summary should be used first. Thank you for all your efforts to make this history come alive. Prepared by the Irish Famine Curriculum Committee, James Mullin, Chairman: 757 Paddock Path, Moorestown, NJ 08057 (609)727- 4255, FAX: (609)866-9538, email: [email protected] 1.
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ABOUT THE CONTENTS These units follow the Teacher and Student Summary (pp.3-18): I. LAWS THAT ISOLATED AND IMPOVERISHED THE IRISH: This section shows how the Penal Laws, and the Statutes of Kilkenny, reduced the Irish to the status of disenfranchised non-persons in their own country, and it examines how “laissez faire” and repression of trade laws laid the groundwork for the Famine to take place. (pp.19-32) II. RACISM: This section provides numerous examples and cartoon illustrations showing how the Irish, as well as Africans and others, were made into racist stereotypes. (pp.33-60) MASS EVICTION DURING FAMINE: This sections shows the extent to which eviction was employed during the Famine, the reasons why it was employed, and its devastating consequences for the suffering people. (pp.61-69) III . IV. MORTALITY RATES AND “THE HORROR”: This sections shows death rates in relation to Ireland's population at the time of the Famine, and gives personal accounts of Famine scenes to help put a human face on the tragedy. (pp.70-79) V. EMIGRATION: DEPARTURE, CROSSING, AND ARRIVAL: This section describes the conditions faced by the famine-stricken people at disembarkation centers, on board "coffin ships" and at quarantine stations. (pp. 80-95) VI. GENOCIDE: This section gathers together several definitions of genocide, as well as statements made by historical figures and historians, and asks the students to relate facts, opinions and definitions. (pp. 96-105) VII. POETRY: This section features a selection of poetry inspired by the mass starvation in Ireland. (pp. 106-116) 2.
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The Great Irish Famine Teacher and Student Summary Bridget O'Donnell and her children 3.
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EARLY IRELAND Human habitation in Ireland dates from the mesolithic (middle stone age) period, approximately 7,000 years B.C. The people are assumed to have been hunter-gatherers and fishermen. They showed great reverence for the dead, and left behind stone tombs like Newgrange, outside Dublin. About 3,500 years B.C., in the neolithic, or late stone age, Irish farmers cleared land, used stone tools, planted crops and kept sheep and cattle. (1.) THE CELTS The Celts began arriving from Europe as early as the 6th century B.C. They brought with them the iron-age culture. Celtic Ireland was divided into 150 little kingdoms, and five provinces, four surviving to today: Ulster, Munster, Leinster & Connacht. The extended family was the social unit and there were no towns. The Irish Celts spoke the Irish language, believed in druidism, and obeyed the laws interpreted by early lawyers called brehons. (2.) ST. PATRICK & CHRISTIANITY In the 5th century A.D. Irish pirates raided Britain and captured a 16 year-old Roman citizen named Patrick. He was kept as a slave in Ireland, and worked as a shepherd. He eventually escaped and returned home. When he was studying in Gaul (now France) he had recurring dreams in which the children of Ireland appeared to him, asking him to return. He came back to Ireland as a missionary, and by the time he died in 465 all of Ireland was Christian. St. Patrick is also credited with bringing the Latin alphabet to Ireland, and founding a great many monasteries. By the 8th century the Irish monks had made great technical advances in the craft of making illuminated manuscripts. The best example is the Book of Kells, an 8th century copy of the New Testament. THE VIKINGS The monks also worked elaborate ornamentation in bronze, enamel and gold. (3.) Rumors of these treasures brought on invasions by fleets of long boats carrying Danish Vikings. They deployed fortified settlements and built towns. In the year 841 they founded Dublin. (Dubh Linn meaning Black Pool) THE NORMANS The first Normans from England and Wales landed in Wexford, Ireland in 1169. They conquered the disunited Irish using armor, horses and fortified castles. The Normans brought with them the tradition of Common Law, based upon the personal ownership of property, in contrast with life under Irish Brehon Law where ownership was vested in the extended family or clan. However, the newcomers quickly adopted the Irish language, married into Irish families, and "it was said of them that they became more Irish than the Irish themselves." (4.) 4.
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STATUTES OF KILKENNY The English crown wished to preserve the racial purity and cultural separateness of the colonizers. They instituted the Statutes of Kilkenny. These decreed that the two races, Norman and Gaelic (Irish) should remain separate. Marriage between races was made a capital offense. The statutes explained: "Whereas at the conquest of the land of Ireland and for a long time after, the English of the said land used the English language...Now many English of the said land, forsaking the English language, fashion, mode of riding, laws and usages, live and govern themselves according to the manners, fashion and language of the Irish enemies..." (5.) The government responsible for the statutes was in control only in the area around Dublin, known as the English Pale. The effort to prevent assimilation to Irish ways led to the expression, "Beyond the Pale." THE REFORMATION In the 1530s England's King Henry began the process of breaking with the Catholic Church of Rome. This split led to the eventual foundation of the Church of England. The Reformation divided the Irish, who remained Catholic, from the English, who became Protestants. In 1601, at the battle of Kinsale, the Irish armies and their Spanish allies were defeated. For the first time all Ireland was governed by a strong English central administration based in Dublin. THE PLANTATION Another English policy to subdue Ireland was the colonization of Ulster with new settlers, mostly Scottish Presbyterians and English Protestants. This system of colonization was known as "a planting". The native Irish were driven off almost 500,000 acres of the best land in counties Tyrone, Donegal, Derry, Armagh and Cavan. The property was then consolidated and colonizers were 'planted' on large estates. (6.) OLIVER CROMWELL In 1641 the Irish rebelled against the English and Scottish who possessed their land, and were immediately caught up in the English civil war between Parliament and king. In 1649 Oliver Cromwell landed at Dublin with an army of 12,000 men. He was joined by the 8,000 strong parliamentary army. He successfully laid seige to the town of Drogheda, and on his orders the 2,699 men of the royalist garrison were put to death. Townspeople were also slaughtered. Cromwell reported that “We put to the sword the whole number of inhabitants. I do not think thirty of the whole number escaped with their lives." (7.) Large-scale confiscation of land followed. The owners were driven off eleven million acres of land and it was given to the Protestant colonists. "Irish landowners found east of the river Shannon after 1 May, 1654 faced the death penalty or slavery in the West Indies and Barbados." (8.) The expression "To hell or Connaught" originated at this time: 5.
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"those who did not leave their fertile fields and travel to the poor land west of the Shannon would be put to the sword." (9.) PENAL LAWS In the 1690s the Penal Laws, designed to repress the native Irish were introduced. The first ordered that no Catholic could have a gun, pistol, or sword. Over the next 30 years the other Penal laws followed: Irish Catholics were forbidden to receive an education, enter a profession, vote, hold public office, practice their religion, attend Catholic worship, engage in trade or commerce, purchase land, lease land, receive a gift of land or inherit land from a Protestant, rent land worth more than thirty shillings a year, own a horse of greater value than five pounds, be the guardian to a child, educate their own children or send a child abroad to receive an education. Edmund Burke, an Irish-born Protestant who became a British Member of Parliament, (MP) described the Penal laws as "well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man." (11.) The Lord Chancellor was able to say, "The law does not suppose any such person to exist as an Irish Roman Catholic." JONATHAN SWIFT The eighteenth century in Ireland was a dismal time for the "untrustworthy majority." The Penal Laws, directed at their education, religion, and property rights, kept them poor and powerless. One who commented on their plight was Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's Travels, and Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. In "A Short View of the Present State of Ireland" he singled out the practice of absentee landlordism, estimating that half the net revenues of Ireland were taken out of the country and spent in Britain. Ever increasing rent, the source of most revenue, Swift declared, "is squeezed out of the very blood, and vitals, and clothes, and dwellings of the tenants, who live worse than English beggars. The families of farmers who pay great rents [are] living in filth and nastiness upon buttermilk and potatoes, without a shoe or a stocking to their feet, or a house so convenient as an English hog sty to receive them. These may, indeed, be comfortable sights to an English spectator who comes for a short time to learn the language, and returns back to his own country, whither he finds all our wealth transmitted." (12.) BERKELEY THE PHILOSOPHER A contemporary and friend of Swift's, philosopher George Berkeley, wrote in a 1736 journal wondering "whether a foreigner could imagine that half of the people were starving in a country which sent out such plenty of provisions". Berkeley had been to Rhode Island and seen Negro slavery on American plantations. Berkeley wrote, "The Negroes have a saying, 'If Negro was not a Negro, Irishman would be Negro."' Berkeley added that the American Indians "are better clad and better lodged than the Irish cottagers." (13.) 6.
The Great Irish Famine - page 8
SOCIAL STRUCTURE The Act of Union, passed in 1800, abolished the independent Irish Parliament in Dublin, and brought Irish Administration under the British Parliament. Irish Protestants only were allowed to be British MPs. In 1829, after a long struggle, Irish Catholics achieved emancipation, and won the right to sit in British Parliament. However, “The bulk of the population lived in conditions of poverty and insecurity." (14) THE ASCENDANCY At the top of the social pyramid was the Ascendancy class, the English and Anglo-Irish families who owned most of the land, and had almost limitless power over their tenants. Some of their estates were huge - the Earl of Lucan, for example, owned over 60,000 acres. Many of these landlords lived in England and were called "absentees". They used agents called "middlemen" to administer their property, and many of them had no interest in it except to spend the money the rents brought in. FARMERS AND COTTIERS It was a very unbalanced social structure. The farmers rented the land they worked, and those who could afford to rent large farms would break up some of the land into smaller plots. These were leased to "cottiers" or small farmers, under a system called "conacre." Nobody had security or tenure and rents were high. Very little cash was used in the economy. The cottier paid his rent by working for his landlord, and he could rear a pig to sell for the small amount of cash he might need to buy clothes or other necessary goods. There was also a large population of agricultural laborers who traveled around looking for work. They were very badly off because not many Irish farmers could afford to hire them. "In 1835, an inquiry found that over two million people were without regular employment of any kind." (15.) Under the Irish Poor Law of 1838, workhouses were built in all parts of the country and financed by local taxpayers. POTATO BLIGHT This rickety system held together only because the rural peasants had a cheap and plentiful source of food. The potato, introduced to Ireland about 1590, could grow in the poorest conditions, with very little labor. This was important because laborers had to give most of their time to the farmers they worked for, and had very little time for their own crops. "The actual cause of (potato crop) failure was phytophthora infestans - potato blight. The spores of the blight were carried by wind, rain and insects and came to Ireland from Britain and the European continent. A fungus affected the potato plants, producing black spots and a white mould on the leaves, soon rotting the potato into a pulp." (16.) By the summer of 1847, over three million people were being fed by government soup kitchens and those organized by Quakers. “So many people died in so short of time that mass graves were provided. (17.) 7.
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LAISSEZ-FAIRE The dominant economic theory in mid-nineteenth century Britain was laissez-faire (meaning: 'let be'), which held that it was not a government's job to provide aid for its citizens, or to interfere with the free market of goods or trade. (18.) Despite laissez-faire, the initial response to the Famine under Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, was "prompt, efficient and interventionist." (19.) He sent over a Scientific Commission to the facts. The commissioners reported that one-half of the crop destroyed, or unfit for use, but they incorrectly diagnosed the the blight. THE CORN LAWS Food prices in Ireland were beginning to rise, and potato prices had doubled by December, 1845. Meanwhile, the Irish grain crop was being exported to Britain. (20.) Public meetings were held, and prominent citizens called for the exports to be stopped and for grain to be imported as well. However, this would have meant repealing the Corn Laws, and there was great opposition in Britain to this. (21.) "The Corn Laws, an exception to the doctrine of laissez-faire, laid down that large taxes had to be paid on any foreign crops brought into Britain. This kept grain prices high, and the British traders would lose profits if the laws were repealed" (22.) Since the Act of Union made Ireland legally a part of the United Kingdom, its corn crop could be moved to England without incurring the tax. However, corn crops brought into Ireland to relieve the famine could be taxed. Prime Minister Peel pushed through a repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. This split the Tory Party and Peel was forced to resign. In a powerful speech to Parliament he said, "Good God, are you to sit in cabinet and consider and calculate how much diarrhea, and bloody flux, and dysentery a people can bear before it becomes necessary for you to provide them with food?" (23.) LORD JOHN RUSSELL Peel was succeeded at Prime Minister by Lord John Russell, a rigid exponent of laissez-faire. In October, 1846, as it became clear that over ninety per cent of the potato crop of Ireland was blighted, Lord Russell set out his approach to the famine: "It must be thoroughly understood that we cannot feed the people...We can at best keep down prices where there is no regular market and prevent established dealers from raising prices much beyond the fair price with ordinary profits." {24.} Russell's policies emphasized employment rather than food for famine victims, in the belief that private enterprise, not government, should be responsible for food provision. He also stressed that the cost of Irish relief work should be paid for by Irishmen. Peel's Relief Commission was abolished and relief work was put in the hands of 12,000 civil servants in the Board of Works who only found work for 750,000 of the starving people. In return for hard (and often pointless) work, starving peasants were paid starvation wages. British examine was now cause of 8.
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Tens of thousands of people died during the winter of 1846, but “Russell and his colleagues never conceived of interfering with the structure of the Irish economy in the ways that would have been necessary to prevent the worst effects of the famine.”(25.) PRIVATE RELIEF EFFORTS The Society of Friends, or Quakers, first became involved with the Irish Famine in November, 1846, when some Dublin-based members formed a Central Relief Committee. They intended that their assistance supplement other relief. However, the relief provided by the Quakers proved crucial in keeping people alive when other relief systems failed. A number of Quakers were critical of government relief policies, holding them to be inadequate and misjudged. The Quakers donated food, mostly American flour, rice, biscuits, and Indian meal along with clothes and bedding. They set up soup kitchens, purchased seed, and provided funds for local employment. During 1846- 1847, the Quakers gave approximately 200,000 Pounds for relief in Ireland. (26.) The British Relief Association was founded in 1847, and raised money in England, America and Australia. They benefited from a "Queen's Letter" from Victoria appealing for money to relieve the distress in Ireland. The total raised was 171,533 Pounds. A second "Queen's Letter" in October of 1847, reflected a hardening in British public opinion, as it raised hardly any additional funds. In total, the British Relief Association raised approximately 470,000 Pounds. In August, 1847, when the Association had a balance of 200,000 Pounds, their agent in Ireland, Polish Count Strzelecki, proposed that the money be spent to help schoolchildren in the west of Ireland. The British Treasury Secretary, Charles Edward Trevelyan, warned against it, fearing "it might produce the impression that the lavish charitable system of last season was intended to be renewed." (27.) Strzelecki proved adamant and Treyelan conceded that a small portion of the funds could be used for that purpose. Donations for the Irish Famine came from distant and unexpected sources. Calcutta, India sent 16,500 Pounds in 1847, Bombay another 3,000. Florence, Italy, Antigua, France, Jamaica, and Barbados sent contributions. The Choctaw tribe in North America sent $710. Many major cities in America set up Relief Committees for Ireland, and Jewish synagogues in America and Britain contributed generously. EXPORTS In Ireland Before and After the Famine, author Cormac O’ Gra’da documents that in 1845, a famine year in Ireland, 3,251,907 quarters (8 bushels = 1 quarter)) of corn were exported from Ireland to Britain. That same year, 257,257 sheep were exported to Britain. In 1846, another famine year, 480,827 swine, and 186,483 oxen were exported to Britain. (28.) Cecil Woodham-Smith, considered the preeminent authority on the Irish Famine, wrote in The Great Hunger; Ireland 1845-1849 that, " issue 9.
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