A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

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What are the six advantages made by the proposal in A Modest Proposal?

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After stunning the reader with his tongue-in-cheek "proposal" that Irish children be raised and sold for food, Jonathan Swift offers six advantages to this plan.

The first, he assures the reader, is that it will "lessen the number of Papists," or Catholics, who he characterizes as enemies of the kingdom. Of course, the southern counties of Ireland remained steadfastly Catholic even under the rule of Protestant England.

Second, he writes that the poor tenants who live on land owned by English absentee landlords will have something of their own that actually has economic value—their own children.

Third, the children will go from being a great expense to a great financial asset to the kingdom, one that is "entirely of our own growth and manufacture."

Fourth, the parents, who Swift calls "breeders," will be rid of the burden of their children and will actually make money off of them.

Fifth, the measure will benefit taverns, whose proprietors will have a tasty new dish to serve. In other words,...

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