Poor Law Politics and Elections in Post-Famine Ireland

History Studies, Vol. 6, 2005

14 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2007 Last revised: 7 Jul 2008

Mel Cousins

Trinity College (Dublin) - School of Social Work and Social Policy

Abstract

There has, to date, been limited study of poor law politics and elections in Ireland in the nineteenth century. Feingold's important study of poor law politics examined what the revolt in local government which was linked to the land war in the late 1870s and 1880s. Feingold's thesis is that the boards of guardians which administered the poor law in Ireland were effectively controlled by landlords up to the 1870s and that this control was gradually called into question by tenant-farmers from the 1870s, particularly the later 1870s, on. This led to the important social transformation of power in Ireland. Feingold's work is enormously valuable but does tend to give the impression that the boards of guardians in the period before the 1870s were simply administrative in nature and that politics was rarely involved at board level in this period. This article reviews the evidence on the poor law politicisation and elections in the decades before the land war focusing in particular on the period of the 1860s-1870s.

Keywords: Poor Law, Ireland, politicisation

Suggested Citation

Cousins, Mel, Poor Law Politics and Elections in Post-Famine Ireland. History Studies, Vol. 6, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=993838

Mel Cousins (Contact Author)

Trinity College (Dublin) - School of Social Work and Social Policy ( email )

Dublin
Ireland

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