`I believe that next to good Religious education, a sound knowledge of Political Economy would tend as much to tranquilize this country, if not more, than any other branch of knowledge that can be taught in schools.' - Cork Schools Inspector, 1853 In a nineteenth century Ireland that was divided socially, economically, politically and denominationally, consensus was sought in the new discipline of political economy, which claimed to be scientifically impartial and to transcend all divisions. The authors explore the ideological mission of political economy, and the reasons for the failure of that mission in the wake of the crisis induced by the great famine of 1846/47.

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