This collection explores the complex political thinking of a fundamental period of Irish history. It moves from the political, religious and military turmoil of the seventeenth century, through the years of the protestant ascendancy, to the revolutionary events at the end of the eighteenth century. The book addresses the basic conflicts of the age. In the case of religious politics it examines the hopes, anxieties, and interactions of Anglicans, Catholics and Presbyterians. It investigates the great political issues of the day - the constitutional thinkers and politicians involved in these struggles. Light is thrown on the great and the good - Swift and Molyneux, Grattan and Lucas - as well as on a huge cast of forgotten or never known figures, be they royal officials, lawyers, clergymen, landowners, or popular writers. A whole world of vibrant political debate is exposed.

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