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Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race$
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Bruce Nelson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153124

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153124.001.0001

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“The Blood of an Irishman”

“The Blood of an Irishman”

The English Construction of the Irish Race, 1534–1801

(p.17) Chapter One “The Blood of an Irishman”
Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race

Bruce Nelson

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the English construction of the Irish race, from the “incomplete conquest” in the sixteenth century to the completion of the process in the seventeenth century. By the 1690s, the English had constructed the foundations of an enduring and multifaceted Protestant Ascendancy. The seventeenth century was marked by two major wars, one of them lasting more than a decade. It was also marked by successive waves of dispossession, which ultimately meant that almost all Catholics east of the River Shannon ceased to be landowners. Increasingly, it appeared that Ireland was a nation defined by a fundamental antagonism between Irish Catholics and English (and Irish) Protestants. The events that played the key role in consolidating this perception were the Catholic rebellion of 1641 and the Cromwellian invasion of 1649.

Keywords:   Irish nationalism, English, Irish race, Protestant Ascendancy, Irish Catholics, land, dispossession, Ireland

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