Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious


Product Details

Belknap Press
Publish Date
5.88 X 8.92 X 1.18 inches | 1.29 pounds
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As informative and perceptive as Tocqueville's [Democracy in America].--Michael Kenney"Boston Globe" (03/16/2006)
Beaumont's 1839 book is the forgotten sister of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. The two liberal Catholic contemporaries were close friends for many decades...In order not to overlap, Tocqueville focused by mutual agreement on the constitutional and societal aspects of America, while Beaumont investigated the disadvantaged, the colonialized and the suborned. Beaumont toured Ireland for background on what would become a European bestseller. To a horrified audience, he revealed the brutality, indifference and intolerance of English rule over Ireland. He painted a picture of proselytizing Protestant nobles lording it over a native, nationalist Catholic population, yet Beaumont--a fervent believer in the virtue of British political institutions--paradoxically argued, in Garvin and Hess's words, that London had given Ireland the 'constitutional tools necessary to free itself from colonial oppression.' In subsequent years, the Irish would pick up those tools...Beaumont's account makes for a worthy rediscovery and deserves wider recognition.-- (01/23/2006)
Beaumont's Ireland deserves to be read because mid-19th-century Ireland provided the author with the inspiration to uncover the general dilemmas encountered by politicians using limited institutional means in complex social and historical contexts. This general approach is a useful antidote to the popular--and also frequently the academic--discourse of Irish history, which still tends to fixate on the "rights" and "wrongs" in the careers of particular individuals and organisations.-- (05/21/2006)