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The general elections of 1885 and 1886 could be considered a landmark inIrish history for the reason that it leaded to a clear distinctionbetween the nationalistunionist politics linked to a clearprotestantcatholic division says Walker BM 1996 in his writingDancing to Historys Tune Other historians such as Alvin Jackson 2010consider that the birth of the modern politics in Ireland was during1790-8 and it is connected with the Irish rebellion of 1798 Thearguments that Jackson 2010 brings are similar to a certain extentwith those of Walker as they both consider that at the foundation ofthese two different events there were religious prejudices and anideology of liberation with ancient historical resentment Jackson2010 p 17 The nature of the constitutional relation between Britainand Ireland and the civil rights of Catholics were the two main issuesthat dominated Irish politics throughout 19th century and they could betraced back to 1780s and 1790s However the election of 1885-6 areconsidered to have had a great impact on Irish society as it led to arise of modern political parties to the resolution of the land questionand to growth of national identities The political social and economicaspects of the Irish society are going to be presented in order toillustrate the importance of the elections of 1885-6 There are few aspects that have to be mentioned in order to understandwhat led to the elections and their influence on the politics at thetime On one hand there were economical and social factors thatcontributed to the rise of nationalist spirit such as the decline inpopulation as a result of the famine and emigration which were linkedto the union the economic development of Ulster as a result of itsrelation with Great Britain and the land question which affected morethe population of Ireland than Ulster as they were benefiting fromUlster custom On the other hand there were religious factors such asthe catholic emancipation the distribution of Protestants and Catholicsacross Ireland with three-quarters of the Protestants in Ulster and amajority of
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