Act of Union

  • Created by: GCHIS
  • Created on: 14-11-19 14:35

Arguments for the Union

  • Enable the British government to assume direct responsibility for the defence of Ireland against rebellion and foreign invasion
  • The present system of government divided between London and Dublin and only encouraged divisions, acrimony and inefficiency
  • Fate of the Ascendancy itself was at stake. It's very existence had always rested ultimately on the military power of Great Britain, union would finally confirm this simple but inescapable fact
  • Union would enable Ireland to become part of the wider British economy and this would produce clear advantages for the Irish people
  • The face that Roman Catholics would be a minority within a UK would remove the traditional fears of Pretestants and make them prepared to grant equal rights to fellow Catholic citizens
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Arguments against the Union

  • Argument based primarily on a vague feeling of Irish Nationalisty
  • Ireland was a separate society with it's own institutions and interests and should therefore possess it's own independent parliament
  • Argued that it was the Ascendancy that crushed the 1798 rebellion and so if you destroyed that independence, Ireland would be under the heel of Great Britain
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To what extent was Pitt able to achieve his aims?

  • Pitt was forced to abandon plan that combined union with Catholic Emancipation - opposed by King George III
  • High hopes of the supporters of the Union went largely unfulfilled. There were two basic reasons for this: the political corporation of Ireland into the UK was a half-hearted affair, and the exonomic advantages for Ireland envisaged by Pitt were not realised
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Why did opposition fail?

  • 'Nation' only represented a minority of people
  • Divisions between anti-unionists
  • Anti-unionists had nothing positive to offer
  • Members of Roman Catholic Church supported the Union
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