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The constitutional revolution of 1782 can credibly be presented as the immediate reason for the Act of Union eighteen years later Sean Connolly Do you agree The act of union one could strongly argue is the defining event of modern Irish history It brought into effect the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and was a genuine if flawed attempt at creating a new Anglo-Irish relationship The most immediately striking aspect of the history of the Irish parliament between 1767 and 1801 is surely the way that its extinction followed a quarter of a century in which its power and independence had seemingly grown Why was the act of union drawn up Four major contexts have been put forward by historians within which the act of union can be understood imperial ancien rgime the British Constitution and the problems of 1782 settlement This essay will discuss all these themes and aim to illustrate in particular the importance of the constitutional revolution of 1782 as a reason for the act of union Let us firstly discuss why William Pitt and his colleagues chose to introduce such a radical and disruptive measure at this time in terms of Britains imperial agenda Christopher Bayly offers a useful and interesting discussion of this point in a paper comparing Ireland and India extending from the late eighteenth century to early twentieth He notes that to rule these dependencies in the late eighteenth century the British government had already developed administrative measures which also bore family resemblance to each other In India Cornwallis followed through a policy which excluded Indians and people of mixed race from major government and military offices This of course is very similar to the policy towards Irish Catholics who had long been excluded from office commissions in the British army and the purchase of Protestant land in Ireland Cornwallis believed the problem in India was the dangerous combination of Company servants run wild
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