Mervyn Busteed
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Revolution and reform: 1790s to 1850s
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From 1790s to 1850s the Manchester Irish were involved in a variety of political activities, some dedicated to violent separatism, some to peaceful reform, some focused on Ireland, at other times concerned with issues preoccupying British society in general. This chapter examines the role of the Irish in the electoral politics of the city from the 1870s onwards. The presence of the Irish amongst those who demonstrated for parliamentary reform and trade union rights at Peterloo in 1819, as well as Daniel O'Connell's campaigns for Catholic emancipation are discussed. The various Chartist campaigns illustrated the stresses and strains on the basis of religion and political priorities, with the result that the Chartist-Confederate revolutionary alliance feared by the Catholic Church and the authorities. Particular attention is paid to the fact that the much feared Irish-Chartist alliance in the revolutionary year of 1848 may actually have been a fleeting reality in Manchester.

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The Irish in Manchester c. 1750–1921

Resistance, adaptation and identity


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