The 1798 Rebellion

November 11, 2008
By Caitriona Dornan, Belfast, ZZ

In 1798 the Irish rebellion took place. A rebellion is resistance/defiance to any control or authority. The Irish men resisted the control England had over Ireland. If the Irish had won their fight against England, the 1798 rebellion would be known as a revolution. A revolution is a successful uprising and overthrowing of a goverment. The Irish intended to uprise and overthrow the English Parliament at West Minster, to replace it with their ovwn Parliament, which would be located in Dublin, and ruled by the Irish for the Irish. Unfortunarely though for the Irish, they failed. Throughout this essay it is my intention to highlight why the rebellion took place, and to outline the consequences and impact it had on Ireland.

Up until 1776 America had been under the British control. America belonged to the British Empire which stretched over 2/3 of the globe. Th eAmericans were tired of Britain Bossing them about, making up their laws and controlling America. The Americans overthrew the goverance of the British Empire and collectively became the nation of the United Stares of America, In this period in time, the colonies first started up self-govering independant states, then united to defend the self-goverance in armed conconflict known as the American War of Independance, which resulted in the states breaking away from the English Empire with the Declaration of Independance. They celebrate it now every 4th of July.
In 1789, the French were ruled by the monarchy, famine had swept through France, the peasents were malnurished and starving to death, taxes were high and no one could afford food. Except for the monarchy, taking the working mans money and dining without a care for their people. The peasents were furious, and started a war with their monarchy. They demanded water and bread, lower taxes, etc. Many of the monarchy were massacared including the trial and execution of the King. The war was successful to the peasents, who overthrew the monarchy and won the independance of their country. France became a republic and democratic country. This revolution in France saw the Birth of Nationalism in Europe. This was to have consexquences for Ireland and indeed the whole world.

Theobald Woftone was an Irish Protestant Lawyer from Dublin. When he heard of the revolutions in America and France, he was inspired by them, he is remembered as the first Irish Republican. Wolftone set up a secret society called the United Irishmen. They revolutionary group in Ireland were catholics and protestants fought together since the troubles of the Plantation and the bitterness that stayed amoungst the hearts and souls of the Irish and British planters. The United Irishmen were formed in 1791, at this time Wolftone wrote "It is our aim to break the connection with England, the never failing source of our evils and to assert, the independance of our country".
Basically the aims of the United Irishmen and Wolftone was to rid Ireland of Englands control, they blamed all of Irelands problems on England; for everything could be traced back to the Ulster Plantation. Their aim was to make Ireland a Republican democractic country, with it's own independance and freedom.

In 1798, seven years of planning later, the Irish rebelled against England. From the start, the rebellion was doomed. they failed to get the support of the French, they had a lack of weapons, there was poor cumminication between the revolutionaru's and there was British spires, pretending to be fighting on Irelands side, but reveiled all their plans to the British before they were set into action. These were four reasons why the rebellion inevitably failed. Another reason was that while the rebellion was going on, down in Wexford, the Catholics decided amongst themselves that during this bloodshed it was a great time to settle old scores. The Catholicsturned on the Protestants, slaughtered them mercylessly. As news spread of this, many protestants questioned about an Indepenant Ireland. Many protestants turned their back on the thought. One of the reasons was the Wexford sectarian slaughter, others concluded Homerule(Home rule means Irelands laws made by the Irish in Ireland) meant Rome rule, that once Ireland earned its independance, the Pope, the most catholic man would take over Ireland and favour the Catholics over Protestants. Some protestants also thought that without Englands control, England would no longer protect them if the catholics, like the catholics in Wexford, would turn on them too. Protestants saw the Catholic church as an enemy of religious freedon. Others were proud to be part of the British Empire, which was the largest Empire at the time. England invested alot of money in Irelands businesses such as Harland and Wold, the worlds biggest ship builders are the time. Protestant business men didn't want to lose trade with England so they turned their back on homerule.

There were five main consequences of the Rebellioni, firstly 30,000 men were killed, which caused grief, distress and fuelled a desire for revenge. It was known as a military catastrophe. The sectarian slaughter down in county Wexford led to suspicon and division between Catholics and Protestants which still exists today and protestants began to turn their back on nationalism. Woldtone was on a boat to France, when he was arrested by English officers. While he was in his cell, waiting upon his execution he started to saw away at his neck with a pen knife. It was a long, slow and painful death. Wolftone is remembered as a martyr, someone who dies for the cause they believed in. His attempt to win Irish Independance influenced future generations to carry on the struggle to win Irelands freedom which they are still trying to do today using constitional methods. Finally the Act of Union. England enforced the ct of Union in order to teach Ireland a lesson about trying to rebel. They showed the Act of Union by joining the three flags: St Patrick's flag of Ireland, St Andrew's flag of Scotland and St George's flag of England. This new flag is known as the union jack. Ireland is now legally part of the United Kingdom. The idea of an independant Ireland was now further away than ever before. Northern Ireland still belongs to England, though the provinces of Connaught, Leinster, Munster and the Republic of Ulster counties Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal are now a Republic and have their freedon. Northern Ireland will hopefully have it freedom in the future and the roots of the nationalisy struggle can be found in the 1798 rebellion. Though it was in many ways a failure it did succeed in influencing nationalists in the years and centuries after.

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