Captain Rock : The Irish Agrarian Rebellion Of, 1821-1824

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-12
  • Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Pr
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Named for its mythical leader "Captain Rock," avenger of agrarian wrongs, the Rockite movement of 182124 in Ireland was notorious for its extraordinary violence. InCaptain Rock, James S. Donnelly, Jr., offers both a fine-grained analysis of the conflict and a broad exploration of Irish rural society after the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Originating on an estate in west Limerick, the Rockite movement spread quickly under the impact of a prolonged, postwar depression. But the Rockites soon garnered support extending far beyond the ranks of the poor. Before long the insurgency embraced many of the better-off farmers in both west Limerick and north Cork, as well as in portions of Kerry, Clare, Tipperary, Waterford, and Kilkenny. The intensity of the Rockitesrs" grievances, the frequency of their resort to sensational violence, and their appeal on such key issues as rents and tithes presented a nightmarish challenge to Dublin Castle-prompting in turn a major reorganization of the police, a purging of the local magistracy, the introduction of large military reinforcements, and a determined campaign of judicial repression. A great upsurge in sectarianism and millenarianism, Donnelly shows, added fuel to the conflagration. Inspired by prophecies of doom for the Anglo-Irish Protestants who ruled the country, the overwhelmingly Catholic Rockites strove to hasten the demise of the landed elite they viewed as oppressors. Drawing on a wealth of sources-including reports from policemen, military officers, magistrates, and landowners as well as from newspapers, pamphlets, parliamentary inquiries, depositions, rebel proclamations, and threatening missives sent by Rockites to their enemies-Captain Rockoffers a detailed anatomy of a dangerous, widespread insurgency whose distinctive political contours will force historians to expand their notions of how agrarian militancy influenced Irish nationalism in the years before the Great Famine of 184551.

Author Biography

James S. Donnelly, Jr., is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Coeditor of the journal +ire-Ireland, he is the author of The Great Irish Potato Famine, The Land and the People of Nineteenth-Century Cork (awarded the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association), and Landlord and Tenant in Nineteenth-Century Ireland.

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