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What can I write on poverty in the 18th century in relationship to Jonathan Swift's "A...

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bianca17 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:52 AM via web

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What can I write on poverty in the 18th century in relationship to Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal"?

I have to explain about the restoration era and how it combines with the socal issue poverty


What can i write on the restoration era 18 century on this topic?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:17 AM (Answer #1)

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There are two major and related issues you should address in considering how the historical background of Irish poverty shaped Jonathan Swift's “A Modest Proposal”, the first concerning nationalism and the second concerning religion.

On a national level, the Irish were the majority of the poor, and the conquerors from England in the south and the enterprising Scots in the north were the rich. Thus the Irish were poor to a degree because they were a conquered people, and oppression contributed to poverty.

On a religious level, the Irish were Roman Catholic and the Protestant Ascendancy mainly Anglican (Church of England) and, in the north, Presbyterian (Church of Scotland). Religious discrimination was a major issue, with much charity being conditional on conversion to Protestantism. Dean Swift (to give him his proper title) was the Dean of the Anglican cathedral in Dublin, and concerned with his Christian duty to care for the poor, but also with the problem of converting Papists.


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