\'Irish Urban Crowds and Agrarian Secret Societies – A Comparison\'

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The late 17th century to the mid-18th century was a period of intense economic and social change in Ireland, and would foster widespread dissatisfaction through the ramifications of growing capitalist, market economies. Food and land emerged as the central themes and issues of the period, and discontent manifested itself in periods of popular protest. Popular protest would be exhibited in two main modes – through urban food protests and by rural agrarian secret societies. While both would indeed have a number of similarities, they would also differ significantly in their aims, methodologies, actors and organisation. This paper will examine the predominant features of urban and agrarian protest prior to the Great Famine, outlining in turn the similarities and differences between the two different movements.
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