By Jim Smyth
The paperback version of the very hot the boys of No estate is a research of the preferred dimensions of Irish radicalism within the age of the French revolution. It makes a speciality of the lower-class mystery society, the Defenders, and the extra regularly occurring face of radicalism during this interval, the Society of United Irishmen. specific realization is paid to the lively traditions of road protest in eighteenth-century Dublin. the image which emerges is of a innovative circulate which was once either extra radical in its rhetoric and pursuits and extra well known in its social base than has formerly been allowed.
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Extra info for The Men of No Property: Irish Radicals and Popular Politics in the Late Eighteenth Century
Office might change hands, London might encounter occasional 22 The Men of No Property obstruction, but the system - the distribution, in social and religious tenns, of political power - remained fundamentally intact. From this perspective also 'popular politics' might usefully denote that process whereby a closed political system was, in social or religious tenns, challenged, breached, or compelled to redraw its boundaries. The process began, perhaps, in the 1740s with Dr Charles Lucas's attack on parliament's abuse of power, and, equally significant, with his agitation among Dublin's tradesmen.
Gorden's Newry Chronicle, The Strabane Journal, the Strabane Newsletter and the Londonderry Journal all found a commercial niche. 58 The circulation of newspapers is the kind of 'supply-side' evidence which does not permit the quantification of rates of literacy, or the detailed mapping of regional variations. At ust we may conjecture that the demand for the printed word, in the form of newspapers, suggests that at least a 'significant minority' of the adult population could read. Almost certainly that minority was larger in the north than in the south; among protestants than among catholics.
Paradoxically, the other main motor of economic change, rural industry, acted more as a demographic shock-absorber than as an agent of destablisation. Even by contemporary European standards eighteenthcentury Ireland experienced unprecedented demographic growth. 42 Competition for land intensified, pushing up rents and the price of leases, but the sub-division of holdings 26 The Men of No Property generally kept up with increased demand. Proportionately, therefore, population increase was concentrated at the base of the social pyramid.