What did it mean to be Irish and revolutionary during the “Age of Revolution?” Dr. Muiris MacGiollabhuí, PhD University of California at Santa Cruz and the Institute's Moore-Livingston Fellow for the 2020-2021 academic year, posits this question when exploring the racial ideology of the United Irishmen first during the 1790s and then in exile. Thousands of Irish men and women were banished throughout the Atlantic World during the 1790s for membership in the United Irishmen or participation in the 1798 Rebellion. In exile, the United Irishmen came face to face with the realities of slavery, a practice they had almost unanimously rejected in Ireland. In exile, however, their consistent rejection of slavery was fractured. Instead, the exiled United Irishmen related to the institution of slavery in a variety of ways: some saw it as a unfortunate feature of nations like the United States, others a financial opportunity, and a few maintained their commitment to its immediate abolition. This talk will explore which factors account for this divergence.
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