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Were elite at the start of the period but by 1921,
pol/reg/land/money power all gone.
· ONLY MADE UP ¼ OF POPULATION, BUT 57% OF
ULSTER POPULATION.
· Was the dominant force of political and economic life ­
PROTESTANT ELITE.
· Over-reliant on British government's support:
Underestimated extent to which Brit govt were prepared to
negotiate with nationalists:
· New dept, kilmainham, IPP supporting Gladstone, Parl Act 1912.
· IPP able to hold BALANCE OF POWER in Brit parl so govt more
willing to give into nationalists as pressure exerted by them --- Prots
not active in opposition. (35, 86 and 1912 = b of p)
not pro-active so easily eclipsed by the more threatening
nationalism.
Bad organisation so needed Brits to organise.
Lib govts prefer to undermine PA as non-conformists so dislike
the Anglicans.
· Gladstone's land issue and disestablishment...
· Cons HAVE to deal with that
· Anglicans own the land, NOT non-
conformists/Presbytarians (Tone was non-conformist).
· Wolfe Tone's uprising proved to England that PA couldn't
keep Ireland under control ---- hence A of U.…read more

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Penal Laws in C18 produced the `Ascendancy':
Protestant/Anglican Landlords and priests/clergy.
· Collected tithes from the entire Irish population.
· The Viceroy's castle was Dublin Castle --- the centre of
power.
· A limited Irish parliament until legislative independence
in 1782 ­ Grattan's parliament. (though wasn't very
powerful) --- had to be bribed to dissolve it anyway.
· Held all the best land in Ireland, that was notably Catholic
prior.
By 1798, 95% of land was owned by 1.3% of the population.
· Don't like the Union at the beginning:
Lose some political power as have to go to Westminster ­ still
elite though.
Eventually support because of apparent economic benefits to
their stratum --- think brit govt will protect them too.
· Catholic Nationalism starts:
1820's ­ feel threatened and so become more supportive of
the Union.
Willing to be more open about said support.
O'Connell HATES the Protestant Ascendancy.
After CE, Irish MPs with Protestant Ascendancy at
Westminster --- UPPED SUPPORT FOR UNION AS FELT
MORE THREATENED.…read more

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ITS DECLINE 1870S
· GRADUALLY DECLINES BUT SPEEDS UP AT A FEW POINTS.
· Why failed?
Mostly because lacked support of Britain: allowed nats to have the upper
ground.
· 1869 Church Act: Church of Ireland disestablished and disendowed.
· Electoral Reform ---- secret ballots:
Lost control over their tenant's vote.
· Bankruptcies after the Famine.
· 1870s Land Act favoured tenants --- changing balance of land
ownership.
· Balance of `Constructive Unionism' designed to maintain and
strengthen the Union:
Brits don't care about the Ascendancy over the chaotic rev nats etc.
Conservatives hoped creating a new class of Ascendancy would encourage
tradition values that favoured the Union and saw Home Rule as unacceptable.
Many swayed by Land Purchase opportunities: 390,000 by 1921.
TOO LITTLE TOO LATE TO RE-SHAPE ATTITUDES OF CATHOLIC
IRISH MAJORITY.
· 1879: Land League and New Departure attacked the Protestant
Ascendancy.
· Loss of political control:
Act of Union 1801
Waterford by-election (CA and 40 shilling freeholders)
CE 1829
Municipal Corporations Act ­ O'Connell = Lord Dublin
1898 Local Govt Act = more rights to shopkeepers etc --- class as well as reg
reformed. REDUCED INFLUENCE OF PA AT LOCAL LEVEL.…read more

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BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY REFORM
· REDUCE POWER OF THE
PROTESTANT ASCENDANCY.
· Reform Act 1867 ---- men in cities get
vote.
1884 --- rural men included in franchise.
CREATE MASS ELECTORATE.
· Secret Ballot 1882 --- VOTE IN SECRET.
PROTESTANT ULSTERMEN
· Butt, Tone, Davis, Bonar Law (con party
leader) --- from Ulster.
· ULSTERMEN is not just Unionists.…read more

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ECONOMIC
· They are landlords
Small population but own majority of the land
By 1921, have almost no land
· Land Reforms = biggest problem for them
Many were bankrupt by the end of the period,
as well as poor
Is why they were prepared to accept Wyndham'
s Land Act in 1903 --- offered them a scapegoat
via compensation for selling land.…read more

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