Exactly what is "A Modest Proposal" by Dr. Jonathan Swift about?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is a satirical essay in which Swift is criticizing the English government for the way that it treats its subjects in Ireland.

The way that Swift does this is by presenting this plan that he supposedly has for helping the Irish economy and the people of the island in general.  He proposes that the Irish poor should start selling their young children to the rich to be eaten.

By proposing such an outrageous thing, Swift is trying to show people of his day how the English government has been neglecting and mistreating the people of Ireland.  He lists various things that the government is not willing to do to help.  Instead, he puts forward his "modest proposal" and pretends that he truly believes in it.