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The Irish Act of Union: A Study in High Politics, 1798-1801 [Hardcover]

Patrick M. Geoghegan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2000
The Union of 1800-1801 created a single United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It lasted until the Treaty of 1922 gave birth to what is now the Republic of Ireland; it continues to obtain in Northern Ireland. Patrick Geoghegan's survey examines the passing of the Act of Union in greater detail than ever before, drawing on newly discovered Secret Service papers in the Public Record Office in London. He also connects the passing of the Act of Union to the collapse of William Pitt's ministry in 1801. This is a connection never made before: it gives a depth and context to Geoghegan's survey which makes it stand apart.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312227280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312227289
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.9 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From the Author

The Union Debate
The Union was an act of arrogance. It was arrogantly conceived, and executed with the ruthless inefficiency that characterised much of government activity in the period. The year 2000 marks the bicentenary of the passing of the Irish Act of Union, a piece of legislation that ended the Irish parliament and in doing so became one of the defining events for the modern Irish political nation. The 19th century became dominated by attempts to repeal the Union, and even in the 20th century much of the violence on the island was between competing groups who want to end, mend, or ultimately defend the measure.

This book is an examination of the reasons behind the introduction of the Union, why Prime Minister Pitt was so anxious to see it pass, and how the British government did everthing necessary to ensure it succeeeded. The account follows on from G.C. Bolton's study 'The passing of the Irish Act of Union' (1966), and includes an analysis of new secret service papers that were only discovered in 1996.

Catholic emancipation was also entwined in the Union debate: Pitt wanted to allow the catholics to vote and sit in parliament, but an unwilling king, and the machinations of a group of anti-catholic conspirators ended up destabilising the government in the critical period of late-1800. Ultimately, Pitt resigned and his ministry was broken ensuring that the Act of Union never became the inclusive measure he had intended.

This book endeavours to tell the story of what happened between 1798 and 1801. It is an investigation of the high politics of the period, and an examination of the unusual circumstances that saw the abolition of the Irish parliament and the collapse of the British government. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dr. Patrick Geoghegan is an historian attached to the Royal Irish Academy where he is working on the multi-volume dictionary of Irish biography. He is also preparing a biography of Robert Emmet --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, entertaining and challenging. 19 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This is the first book in 33 years on the Irish Act of Union, a measure whcih still exerts a powerful influence on the island of Ireland today. In a thoughtful, brilliantly researched, and emminently readable account, Geoghegan provides a new insight into why the Union came about, and how it was passed.
Of particular interest to this reader was the account of the Alien Office (the British Secret Service) and the links between what was happening in Ireland, Europe and Russia. The corruption which was used to pass the Union, was no different from government policy in other areas, and the ruthlessness in which the government pursued the Union is perhaps the most chilling part of the book.
One criticism of the book is the emphasis it puts on William Pitt, the British Prime Minister and his resignation. The most enjoyable sections are the ones to do with the passing of the Union and the complex British dimension perhaps unnecessarily complicates matters.
Otherwise this is a very highly recommended book, and a welcome addition to Irish (and British) historical scholarship.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read 3 Mar 2006
My knowledge of the 1800 Act of Union between Britain and Ireland was limited to what I'd learned in school which, as it turns out, is far from being a complete picture.
This book, while more academic in tone than most history books I'd usually read, gave me an excellent insight into the reasons behind the Union, the political and intelligence maneuvering that went into bringing it about and the failures associated with it. In particular, the failure of Pitt and his supporters to carry Catholic emancipation with the Union, something they saw as being one of the key pieces of the solution to the problem of securing the empire, is given a good going over and is something that I don't think a lot of people are aware of.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting account of corruption and betrayal 19 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The book starts with a sword fight, includes the assasination of a Russian Tsar, and involves plenty of bribery and backstabbing. A serious work of academic scholarship for the serious historian but also an enjoyable read for the general reader. Who would have thought the 18th century could have been so exciting?
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