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Title: Firearms, legitimacy and power in eighteenth-century Ireland
Author: Dean, Stephen Duane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 2083
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Controlling access to firearms was one of the few truly successful Anglo-Irish policies of the eighteenth century and a founding tenant of the penal laws. This thesis examines how a concerted effort to remove access to firearms from the majority Catholic population was largely successful after the end of the Williamite war. Changing imperial priorities in the last four decades of the eighteenth century saw a disbarment policy, which had unified the imperial centre and the settlers on the marches dismantled piecemeal. At the same time, a growing awareness of the potential of the Irish Catholic population as recruits eventually overshadowed fears of the threat of the Catholic population gaining training in the use of arms. The resulting melange of ‘official’ non-enforcement of existing laws and the rise of confessional paramilitaries overlapped with the diffusion of state owned firearms into private ownership in the 1770s and 1780s, which made armed Protestants a threat to order rather than its guarantor. This thesis demonstrates how the gun acted as both a tool of coercive governance and a key component of the ritualized maintenance of a Protestant Ascendancy. Furthermore, it examines the remarkable story of the Catholic resurgence from being the chief domestic threat to the British Empire’s domestic stability into a vital component of its fiscal-military state.
Supervisor: Burns, Robert Arthur ; McBride, Ian Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available