To what extent does Swift blame Ireland's plight on England, and to what extent does he blame Ireland's plight on the Irish?

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writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both parties are blamed for Ireland's problems, but the focus is more on the failure of the Irish to take care of their own country than it is on England's merciless treatment of the Irish. Swift refers to the English as devouring the Irish with their excessive trade taxes and political policies. Swift also condemns the wealthy Irish landowners for overtaxing their tenants, and not providing the services that a landlord should offer. Part of the problem is that the wealthy landowners have moved to England, and are ignoring the poor quality of housing that they are charging excessively for. The reason that it seems that Ireland is being held more responsible than England is found at the end of the satire, when Swift gives he real plan for fixing Ireland. He tells the Irish to stop importing more than it exports, and to start charging more for those exports. He also suggests that absentee landlords should have to pay a higher property tax, bringing them back to Ireland. Basically, if Ireland isn't going to look out for and protect its own people, why should they expect other nations to.

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A Modest Proposal

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